An angel of wisdom, known as a magid, stood in still reverence, waiting for the assembly to be called to order. His eyes scanned the seventy members of the Heavenly Supreme Court. They stood (nobody sits up there—it’s just not in the repertoire) at a semi-oblong table, allowing all to see one another. But the central position of this table is not locatable, beyond dimension or place, being the (un)space of The Chief Magistrate of All Things.

To the right hand of The Chief stood the ChairAngel (a.k.a. “Av Beit Din”), a powerful radiance about his face and magnificent robes flowing down from his shoulders. To the left stood the next wisest of the angels and from that point on, in either direction, the remainder of the esteemed judges stood solemnly by rank in G–dly wisdom.

On cue, the magid made his case.

“My lords, esteemed masters of justice and righteousness,” he spoke, waving his wings gracefully, “Today you convene to discuss a matter of serious, practical implications for every generation of the Jewish people from now unto eternity. Indeed, whereas the lights of other festivals may at times of darkness be all but extinguished, and eventually are destined to be entirely absorbed within the great light of the World to Come, the lights of Chanukah are constant and eternal—as per the talmudic gloss of Nachmanides and his commentary to parshat Behalotecha.”

The Chair Angel was impatient to begin the proceedings. “We are well aware of the gravity of our meeting today,” he interjected. “Is there anything in particular you feel has not been taken into account in our planned adjudication?”

The eyes of the magid widened, unperturbed by the dismissive attitude of the Chair. “As you know, I am the magid appointed to instruct an illustrious student, one by whose light all the Community of Israel shall proceed through the thick darkness of the last leg of their exile until the final redemption. He is none other than Yosef Karo,“But, your honor, Yosef Karo does not yet live for the better part of two millennia!” illustrious author of the Beit Yosef as well as the Shulchan Aruch, the most authoritative code of Jewish Law.”

Angels are an excitable group. At the mention of that holy name, heartbeats accelerated, ethereal wings began to flutter, and amidst the scattered exclamations of “Yosef Karo!”, “the Beit Yosef!”, a spontaneous chorus of audio-oriented beings burst into harmonious accolades of praise and homage of the aforementioned.

Eventually, the court was called to order.

“My illustrious student,” continued the magid, “will write in his halachic gloss, Beit Yosef (meaning: House of Yosef), on the very issue we are gathered here today to discuss. Indeed, the matter will from that time hence be known by his name, ‘the Difficulty Posed By the Beit Yosef.’ It is only appropriate therefore, that he be invited to sit in at our proceedings as an outside consultant.”

The ChairAngel quickly scanned the faces of the assembled heavenly judges, noting their unanimous approval. “Clerk!” he called, “Bring us Yosef Karo!”

The clerk looked back, bewildered. “But, your honor, Yosef Karo does not yet live for the better part of two millennia!”

“Bring us Yosef Karo,” the ChairAngel firmly reasserted. “This is heaven. And we need him now.”

An Angel of Sympathy who stood near the clerk’s post read his confused face, leaned over and whispered, “If we don’t consult with him now, eventually we’re going to have to retro-write history according to his decision anyway. And you know how nasty retro-writes can get.”

The clerk shrugged and walked out the door, continuing to shake his head. But he returned within nanoseconds. Drums rolled and trumpets blasted in royal fanfare as the entrance of Yosef Karo, was announced. The entire heavenly court rose in awe and glowed in multiple spectrums of colors. The vocal ensemble once again joined together in celestial chorus.

Then he entered. In jeweled turban and flowing robes, his piercing eyes shining like sapphires, he walked forth in all humility, yet with the elegance and majesty of a king. A heavenly court clerk rushed him a portfolio and a name-tag as he was led to his place at the consultant’s desk.

The proceedings commenced.

Next installment: Light III: Quality