1. Tonight, erev Shabbos, is also erev Chanukah. Tomorrow, before we light the Shabbos candles, we should light the Chanukah candles. These two types of candles are interrelated and share a common factor.1 The connection between Shabbos and Chanukah is given greater emphasis this year when both the first and final days of Chanukah fall on Shabbos.

We find that Shabbos has two effects on the days of the week. The Zohar teaches that from the Shabbos, “all the days of the week are blessed.” Also, the Shabbos has the potential to elevate all the days of the previous week as can be inferred from the verse, “And the heavens and the earth were completed...,” i.e., the Shabbos endowed the entire creation with an aspect of completion which it lacked previously. This year both of these concepts are given complete expression in connection with the Chanukah festival. The first day of Chanukah falls on Shabbos and from it is drawn down the influence for the following days. In contrast, the final Shabbos represents the sum total of the festival and thus elevates all the previous days to a higher level.

This concept is also reflected in the Torah passages read on these two days. On the first day of Chanukah, we read the introduction to the sacrifices of the Nesi’im a portion which emphasizes how the potential for all the subsequent offerings existed on the first day. The reading of the final day, in contrast, includes a summary of all the offerings which the princes brought paralleling the manner in which the Shabbos includes all the days which preceded it.

A parallel to this concept is found in regard to the Chanukah festival itself. The first day of the holiday includes the potential for all the subsequent days (since the cruse of oil lit on the first day had the potential to burn for seven days). Indeed, for this reason, the School of Shammai maintain that eight candles should be lit on the first day.. The School of Hillel maintain that even though the potential for all eight days exist, since only one day has actually passed only one candle is lit. According to this opinion, eight candles are not lit until the eighth day. Both of these opinions represent legitimate spiritual perspectives.

[The School of Shammai’s opinions has particular relevance at present for the AriZal explains that in the Messianic age, the halachah will follow the School of Shammai (a statement which is not found in regard to any of the other debates in the Talmud). Since we are anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s coming — May it be now before Shabbos comes — soon the halachah will follow Shammai.2 ]

“Deed is most essential.” Today, the day which precedes Chanukah and the day which precedes the Shabbos must be used to prepare all that is necessary for them. Since Chanukah is associated with the dedication of the Bais HaMikdash and each Jew’s home is a miniature sanctuary, the celebration of this holiday must be felt within every Jew’s home and effect his material concerns. Also, it is appropriate to increase one’s gifts to tzedakah on the present day to allow people to purchase what they need for Chanukah.

May all of the above hasten the fulfillment of Yaakov’s desire — as mentioned by Rashi in this week’s portion3 — to “dwell in peace and prosperity” which will be realized in the ultimate sense with the coming of Mashiach. G‑d will surely fulfill this desire. We will taste of the peace and prosperity of the Messianic age in the last days of exile and proceed speedily to the coming of Mashiach.