Arie E. Pelta
Arie E. Pelta

My Chanukah (part 4 of 8)

Day 4

Daily Torah Reading

Elizur son of Shedeur, Reuven

 Sefirah – חסד שבהוד

Chesed is a male aspect and is about giving, without configuring itself according to the needs of the recipient. Chesed has no boundaries or logic, its unconditional; therefore the world is built on Chesed.

 Tehilim of chanuka

  • #30מזמור שיר חנוכת הבית לדוד – ל /

Composed by Dovid Hamelech to be sung at the inauguration of the Beis Hamikdash חנוכת הבית.

  • #90 /    תפילה למשה איש האלקים: אד-נ-י מעון אתה היית לנו בדר ודר – צComposed by Moshe Rabeinu and incorporated into Tehilim by Dovid (Bava Basra 14a). Moshe prays to G-d to help us use our finite time in the world properly. ויהי נעם אד-נ-י אלקינו עלינו ומעשה ידינו כוננה עלינו ומעשה ידינו כוננהו.May the pleasantness of Hashem our G-d be upon us, the work of our hands establish for us, the work of our hands establish for us (Tehilim 90:17)The pleasantness of G-d is upon us during Chanukah, since we can appreciate the light of the Shechina אור שכינתו at this time.

The last pasuk of this chapter (יז) was said by Moshe on the eight day of the dedication of the Mishkan, which is the same date on the calendar at the eighth day of Chanukah?. There is a minhag to say this pasuk seven or eight times every night after the candle lighting.

  • #91/ ישב בסתר עליון בצל שקי יתלונן – צא

There is Segula to say this chapter of Tehilim seven times, as a shmira שמירה for the following year. The Holy Angels come down to answer amen to our prayers; the gematria of מלאך = אמן = 91.

  • #119 / קיט – אשרי תמימי דרך ההלכים בתורת ה’

This chapter of Tehilim is recited on the 25th day of the month. It is in alphabetical order and therefore encompasses all prayers and requests. Just at Chanukah is eight days long, this chapter of Tehilim has eight verses for each letter. This chapter describes the striving to faithfully live a Torah true life.

 The Rebellion, Avengers Deliver strong into hands of the weak

The Matisyahu rebellion was in full force. Antiochus ordered Apollonius to destroy the rebellion. He traveled from Shomron to Beit El. Yehuda, in response, spread out his men on the mountain route from Shomron to Gofna. Yehuda’s troops subsequently successfully ambushed the Greeks, who dropped their weapons and fled. Yehuda personally took the sword of Apollonius into his possession.

After the defeat of Apollonius, Antiochus sent Seron the commander of the Syrian army with a larger force. Seron arrived in Yaffo and marched Eastward. Yehuda and his troops deployed on the upper ridge of Ma’aleh Beit Choron. The Jewish troops initially got scared when they saw the overwhelming force coming towards them. Yehuda encouraged them and said:

אין לאלקים מעצור להושיע ברב או במעט: לא חילים רבים ולא נשק כבד מביאים את הנצחון במלחמה אלא רוח של גבורה, שבאה מן האמונה: אנחנו נלחמים בעד עמנו ותורותנו: והם באים אלינו בגאוה ובזדון, להשמיד אותנו ואת נשינו וטפנו ולקחת את שללנו: אלהי אבותינו לא יעזבינו, הוא יגף אותם מפנינו. קומו, אחי, וצאו להלחם בלא פחד!

Nothing can prevent G-d from saving us, whether we are few or many. It is not great numbers of soldiers of heavy weaponry that brings victory in war. It is rather a spirit of valor, one that stems from true faith. We are fighting for our nation and our Torah, whereas they are coming upon us with haughtiness and evil , to destroy us, our wives and our children, and to take our property. The G-d of our fathers will not abandon us; He will kill them before us. Arise, my brothers! Go out and fight without fear!

Yehuda’s soldiers attacked with great force. Seron and his soldiers fled from Beit Horon all the way back to the Mediterranean Sea. Yehuda and his troops had killed over eight hundred men.

After the failure of Seron, Antiochus appointed Lysias to take charge of the war against the Jews. He took with him half of the kings army in order to destroy the small group of Jews in Israel. Lysias chose three experienced generals to assist him: Ptolemy, Nicanor, and Gorgias. He sent them to Israel with forty thousand soldiers and seven thousand cavalry. This huge force encamped in the Ayalon Valley near the town of Emmaus (today Canada Park, near Latrun).

Yehuda gathered his men to pray at Mitzpah (Tomb of Shmuel HaNavi), near Yerushalayim. This was a designated location for Jewish prayer since the days of Shmuel HaNavi. They davened, read from the Torah, blew the shofar, they also fasted for full day. Yehuda sent home whoever just built a new house, was newly married, just planted a vineyard, or was afraid of battle. Yehuda encouraged them with the following words of emunah:

טוב מותנו במלחמה מראות ברעת עמנו ומקדשינו:

It is better that we die in battle, than to see evil befall our people and our Temple.

Yehuda got report that Gorgias was ascending Ma’aleh Beit Horon with five thousand troops and one thousand cavalry, with many more troops stationed in the valley. Yehuda organized his three thousand men and led them into the Ayalon Valley. In the morning he was opposite the sleeping Syrian camp. He broke up into four groups led by himself and his brothers Shimon, Yochanan, and Yonatan. The battle plan was to mount a coordinated surprise attack with the battle call “Salvation is G-d’s! לאלקים הישועה”. They were successful and killed more than nine thousand Greeks and the others fled to Gezer, Ashdod, and Yavneh.

The army of Gorgias returned to the valley and saw their decimated camp up in smoke. Out of fear they scattered in all directions. In this manner Yehuda’s troops gained much silver gold and weapons. Shabbos began. Among the burnt tents of the Greeks they greeted the Shabbos with song and joy. They thanked G-d for the great kindness in delivering a well equipped army of myriads into the hands of a small group of fighters armed only with swords. After their victory they returned home when Shabbos ended to their camp in Gofna.

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA , made aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. Received Rabbinical ordination in 1997. He is also a active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Currently practicing in Laniado Hospital in Netanya; speciaizing in the surgical care of all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.
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