ב"ה
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Monday, 2 Tevet, 5783

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Chanukah Day 8
Jewish History

On the 25th of Kislev in the year 3622 from creation, the Maccabees liberated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, after defeating the vastly more numerous and powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, who had tried to forcefully uproot the beliefs and practices of Judaism from the people of Israel. The victorious Jews repaired, cleansed and rededicated the Temple to the service of G-d. But all the Temple's oil had been defiled by the pagan invaders; when the Jews sought to light the Temple's menorah (candelabra), they found only one small cruse of ritually pure olive oil. Miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new, pure oil could be obtained. In commemoration, the Sages instituted the 8-day festival of Chanukah, on which lights are kindled nightly to recall and publicize the miracle.

Link: The Story of Chanukah

Laws and Customs

The eighth day of Chanukah is also known as Zot Chanukah (lit., "this is Chanukah"), after a key phrase in the special Chanukah Torah reading for this day (Numbers 7:54-8:4).

In the Jewish calendar, the day begins at nightfall; thus, the last kindling of the Chanukah lights is held on the evening preceding the 8th day of Chanukah, when eight lights are lit (see "Laws & Customs" for yesterday's date). The festival of Chanukah concludes at nightfall this evening.

It is customary, however, to light candles during the daytime as well, in synagogues, in public spaces, and at gatherings held in honor of the festival. These lightings are done without recitation of the blessings as they do not constitute an observance of the mitzvah of kindling the Chanukah lights.

Daily Thought

The Zohar tells us that we must learn from Joseph.

When he fell into his brothers’ hands, they almost murdered him and they sold him into slavery.

But when his brothers fell into his hands, he brought them to repent, and then arranged for them the best living conditions in Egypt.

Joseph was a tzadik. He had mastered the beast within his heart.

But the Zohar speaks to us, and tells us, “Even when your heart burns with fury at those you envy or despise, or have wronged you, even at the time that your mind is assaulted with thoughts of spite and revenge—

—even then, you have the power to do the polar opposite of what the beast within you demands you do, to refuse to entertain those nasty thoughts or to express any anger, and instead to deal with these people with respect and even greater kindness to the opposite extreme.

In a way, that may be greater than a tzadik such as Joseph. For you have defeated the beast at the zenith of its power.

Tanya, end of chapter 12. See also chapter 27.