Dear Heaven Exposed:

My friends and I read your radical exposé of the Menora Affair and want you to know how much we all appreciate you revealing the truth about what's really going on up there. I mean, it was really a good thing Rabbi Karo was there consulting on that job, otherwise, we could have had a real second-rate miracle, right? Only Rabbi Karo knew how to make the miracle happen for all eight days without bending any of those Halacha specs. Karo is cool.

So here's our question: Rabbi Karo demanded that the oil should burn and not burn at the same time, right? I mean, I want you to know, we think that's totally radical, only a human being could think of something so way out there. Those angels were really stuck in their cognitive loops. But R' Karo, he was able to jump out of the box and get past that.

Anyway, the problem is like this: When the eighth day is over, what happens with that oil? It's still there, right? So why can't they burn it for another day? And if they could, why did the miracle have to go for eight days instead of just seven—and on the eighth day, they'll just burn the oil that's left and it will burn perfectly naturally? Back to the same problem, right?

We are real confident you've got an answer to this, but in the meantime, we are all, yours truly…

Stumped, stumped and very stumped.

Dear Stumps,

Really encouraging to see you fans out there are on your toes and thinking deep about this stuff. The solution, as far as I can tell, is pretty fundamental:

Once the miracle stops, there's no oil.

You see, the natural state of the oil was to be burning. A miracle suspended the oil in a state of simultaneously not-burning. So, once that miracle departs, we're back to the natural state. But that natural state is also being regenerated at every moment, totally unaltered by this miracle. And in the natural state, the oil burnt out a long time ago. So it's not there.

I'll give you a parallel: At every moment, the Cosmic Creative Force suspends the cosmos in existence. The 'natural' state (we don't really have words for this, so that will have to do) is that the world does not exist. So the world is sort of existing and not existing simultaneously—just like the oil was burning and not burning. Follow so far?

So, what happens if the CCF stops sustaining existence for a moment? No cosmos, right? But that doesn't mean like, "Hey! Where did the cosmos go?!"—that there used to be a cosmos and now it's gone. No siree. Things would fall back to the 'natural' state. There would never have been a cosmos to begin with.

So that's how it works here, with the oil, as well: All the time the miracle is at work, the oil is not burning, but it still retains its natural state of burning—simultaneously. Both states are regenerated at every moment. Miracle ends, and everything falls back to the natural state—meaning that the oil has burned—since that state continues to be regenerated at that very moment but is now clear of the miracle-state.

Hope I've made that clear enough to answer your question. You've got to try to start thinking counter-intuitively, in paradox form, and you'll get your mind wrapped around it. Of course, since you are deep, skeptical, incisive-thinking exposé fans, you'll undoubtedly come up with more questions. And the answers to those will create more questions. And so on. And that's all just part of the game…

For a deep dive into this dynamic, see footnote 10 to Torat Menachem, Hitvaduyot, vol. 30 (5724), pg. 375 (Shemini).