A Quick Thought on Chanukah

When one typically lights a fire, it is done with the desire for warmth or comfort. But on Chanukah, we enjoy the light of the flame. Literally the flame itself – and there must be a purpose for that. Flames are destined to be distinguished, and so why is this the symbol of Chanukah?

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the eighteenth century author of the Tanya writes that the splitting of the sea during the Exodus from Egypt was a double miracle. Not only did the water stand up allowing for the riverbed to dry up, but the very nature of water changed. Water is supposed to flow – but God made it so that water changed its state of viscosity. This change of nature occurred every second that the water stood still. 

Perhaps the traditional story of oil lasting for seven more days than it should have is a double miracle as well. Not only was there oil – but the very nature of oil changed. The lights should have been distinguished, but rather God saw a purpose in them lasting – and so God sustained the oil so that it would not die out. And that’s what the Chanukah menorah that we light represents. The candle is going to die out – that’s inevitable. And so too ourselves if we just base our lives on purely physical substance. Our very nature needs to be changed, and held together by God. Torah is a Tree of Life – it is what sustains us. Don’t let yourself slowly melt, take ahold of your life and live.

Happy Chanukah!

About the Author
Originally from New Haven, CT Rigel is currently studying in a yeshiva located in Jerusalem. His interests include social issues, urban politics and city planning. Rigel studies Talmud and Chassidut in his free time.
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