1. The name Torah is derived from the word Horeah — which means teaching. Thus, it follows that every aspect of Torah contains a lesson for the Jew, wherever he is. This is particularly true since Torah is called “the Torah of light.” It illuminates our entire surroundings, allowing us to see the nature of every object, and to understand how each object ‘is to be used. The Torah is G‑d’s Torah. Since G‑d created the world and everything it contains, He (and He alone) can reveal the nature of every aspect of creation. He conveys that revelation to us through the medium of Torah.1

G‑d gave the Torah to every Jew. In the blessings we recite over the Torah each morning, we praise G‑d because “He gave us His Torah.” This point is emphasized by the verse, “The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Ya’akov.” (This verse is also one of the 12 Torah sayings which were recited by the young children.) This verse tells us that every Jew inherits the Torah2 from Moshe.3 Since the Torah is eternal, this verse, applies, not only to the Jews of the previous generations, but, also, to the Jews in the coming generations. All the Jewish souls that will come into being, were present at the revelation of Mt. Sinai. Thus, they all have a portion in the Torah. Therefore, every Jew must follow the directives of the Torah. The Torah, in turn, will illuminate all of a Jewish person’s affairs, and all the affairs of the world-at-large.

The above particularly applies in regard to the holiday of Chanukah. Chanukah is a festival that lasts eight full days. It is celebrated by lighting candles — adding a new candle each night4 — and by reciting prayers of praise and thanksgiving — lauding G‑d and thanking Ham for the miracles He wrought during the days of _Chanukah. Because of Chanukah’s many elevated aspects, it gives us many lessons and it provides a special light5 in all matters which pertain to a Jew. The light which Chanukah gives is not restricted to an individual’s own self; but rather it is a light which spreads to the individual’s surrounding environment as well. The Chanukah candles are lit “by the outer doorway to one’s house,” allowing those in the street as well, to see that it is a Jewish house lit up with the Mitzvah of Chanukah candles.

Furthermore, even though there are only eight days of Chanukah, we can apply the lessons of Chanukah to the entire year and thus “light up” the entire year.6

Each Mitzvah contains two aspects: 1) its general quality, and, 2) the particular elements it includes. Since both these aspects have their source in Torah and Mitzvos, it follows that both contain lessons which can illuminate the life of a Jew. The Mitzvah’s general quality provides the most important lesson. More specific lessons can be drawn from the particular elements and details of the Mitzvah. In truth, we can derive many lessons from each Mitzvah. Mitzvos were given by G‑d who is Infinite. His Infinity is reflected in every aspect of Torah and Mitzvos. However, since our time (and also our understanding) is limited, at present we will dwell on one lesson that can be derived from the general aspect of the Mitzvah of Chanukah and one lesson that can be derived from the specific aspects of the Mitzvah of Chanukah.

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2. The Talmud (Shabbos 21b) explains the general aspect of Chanukah as follows: “When the Greeks entered the sanctuary they made all the oils impure. When the Maccabees fought against the Greeks, and overcame them, they searched (for pure oil) and could find only one cruse of oil that was sealed with the seal of the High-Priest. There was only enough oil to burn for one day. (However), a miracle took place, and it burned for eight days. The following year (our sages) established (those days) as festivals (to be marked by) praise and thanksgiving.”

The Jews had a Temple in which they would light the Menorah. But there was a period of time during which the Menorah could not be kindled and no pure oil could be found. However, one small cruse of pure oil was found. Though it contained only enough oil to burn for one day, G‑d wrought a miracle and this oil burned for eight days. (In that time new oil was able to be produced.) We commemorate this miracle by lighting Chanukah candles every year. Every Jew lights the candles for eight days in his home. He recites two blessings over them: 1) “Lehadlik Ner Chanukah” praising G‑d for giving us the commandment “to light the Chanukah candles,” and, 2) “She’asa Nissim,” thanking G‑d “who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.” (On the first day a third blessing, “Shehechiyanu,” is recited, thanking G‑d for “granting us life.”)

This Mitzvah should arouse great wonder. The miracle of Chanukah occurred in the holiest place in the world, in Israel and more particularly in Jerusalem, and in the Temple’s sanctuary. This miracle involved the Priests and the Menorah, which symbolized the entire Jewish people. In spite these aspects of holiness, the Mitzvah of Chanukah is given to every Jew, for all times and in all places. Even after the Temple was destroyed and the Jews are found in Golus, we must light the Chanukah candles. Furthermore, instead of lighting the Chanukah candles in the Temple sanctuary, we kindle them in our private homes, in a position in the home from which they can shed light into the street. Also, every Jew, not only a Kohain or a Levite, must fulfill the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles. Even young children should be trained to light Chanukah candles (or, at least, to watch while their father lights the candles).

How is it that a miracle which took place once, in the Temple, for the entire Jewish people of that time, should bring forth the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles — a Mitzvah performed by every Jew in all times and in all places? Although we are not in the Temple, and quite the contrary, we find ourselves in Golus, nevertheless, regardless of our present situation and that of the world around us, we are obligated to perform the Mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah candles.

This is possible because G‑d gives every Jew the power to bring the light and the meaning the miracle of Chanukah into his home. In spite of the fact that he is in Golus, each Jew can recreate for himself7 the miracle that took place (in those days) in the merit of the entire Jewish people. Therefore, now while we are still in Golus and while we wait for the coming of Moshiach, we light the Chanukah candles blessing G‑d for “granting us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this occasion.” We thank G‑d for the privilege of fulfilling the Mitzvah, a Mitzvah that is connected to the miracles G‑d “performed... for our forefathers in those days, at this time” miracles that took place in the Temple.

Even a young child can light the Chanukah candles, recite the blessings and the prayer “Haneiros Hallalu,” and in the Previous Rebbe’s words, “listen to what the candles tell.” Through this he becomes conscious of how the miracle that took place “in those days,” repeats itself “at this time,” in the celebration of Chanukah, 5740.

This is the wondrous lesson that can be drawn from the general aspects of the Mitzvah of the Chanukah candles. Even in Golus, a Jew has the potential to make his house similar to the Temple. Lighting the Chanukah candles remind each of us of the candles of the Temple. Furthermore, “the candles are placed at the outer entrance to the home,” and shed light into the world outside. Just as the candles lit in the Temple brought light to the entire world, so too, a Jew can light up his home (and the environment outside) with the Mitzvah of the Chanukah lights, and, in general, with the “candle of Mitzvah and the light of Torah.” Through these efforts a Jew makes his home a Temple that illuminates the entire world.

Then, he can recite the Brochah, “Shehechiyanu” thanking G‑d for giving him the strength to make his house a Temple which sheds light outward, into its surroundings.” When a Jew makes his house into a Temple, G‑d gives him everything he needs, even, miracles, if necessary. G‑d will break the rules of nature in order for a Jew to illuminate his house with pure oil.8

Then, we can take the light of Chanukah with us throughout the entire year, until the celebration of Chanukah in the year to come. At that time, we will fulfill the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles again, reciting the blessings: Shehechiyanu, She’asa Nissim, and Lehadlik Ner Chanukah.

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3. In regards to the lesson from the specific aspects of the Mitzvah of Chanukah, we will dwell on this element: the fact that we light eight candles on Chanukah.

The Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles is connected, as explained above, with the miracle involving the Menorah in the Temple. That Menorah had seven candles. At this point a question arises: How can the Mitzvah of Chanukah, which is derived from the Menorah in the Temple, be connected with eight candles, more light than the Menorah itself possessed?

The question can be answered as follows: The miracle of Chanukah came about after a period of time during which the Jewish people could not light the Menorah in the sanctuary because the Greeks “had made all the oils in the sanctuary impure.’ That action came after they had “made decrees against the Jewish people, tried to nullify their religion, prevented them from being involved in Torah and Mitzvos, and applied great pressure to them” (Rambam Laws of Chanukah, 3:1).

Whenever there is an increase in darkness — there, are difficulties involved with the study of Torah and the fulfillment of Mitzvos G‑d gives us the power to overcome that additional darkness by making increases in “the candles of Mitzvos and the light of Torah.”

On Chanukah, we have to light eight candles even though only seven were lit in the Temple. This increase is necessary in order to overcome the darkness that has been added. The increase in light and holiness (through fulfilling G‑d’s command of lighting Chanukah candles) outweighs and nullifies even great darkness.

Thus, we see the greatness of the Chanukah candles. As explained above, G‑d commands the Jewish people to recall the miracle that happened with the Menorah in the Temple in their homes, thus making them a miniature Temple. In addition, fulfilling the command to light eight candles, we add ever mare light than there was in the Temple. Furthermore, the manner in which we carry out this command each day, is significant. We add a new light (on the second night, two candles; :n the third, three; etc.) each night. Thus on the seventh night, we light seven candles, which resemble the seven candles of the Menorah in the sanctuary. However, we don’t stop at this on the Following night we light eight candles, reciting age, h the 13:caches, Lehadlik Ner Chanukah, and She’asa Nissim. V4e then appreciate the full nature of the Mitzvah of Chanukah candle 3. .By lighting eight candles, we add more light than there was in the Menorah in the Temple. This concludes the holiday of Chanukah. 7J’e must take with us the lessons, instruction_,, and 1,ght of Chanukah and apply them to our lives throughout the entire year. In these times, as well, we must create more light than was brought forth by the Menorah in the Temple.

Based on the above, we can understand another difference between the Chanukah candles and the Menorah in the Temple. The Menorah was lit inside the Temple sanctuary; tale Chanukah candles are kindled at the outer door of our homes. Since there has been an increase in darkness, we cannot remain content with lighting up only our private homes, rather, we mast try to shed light into our surrounding environment. This environment is connected to our homes and can effect our homes. Therefore, we light candles “at the outer doorway of our homes,” so that can cause light to shine in the environment that is close to our home, and also so that we can effect, and bring light into, the entire world.

When we compare our times to the times of the Chanukah miracle we may become frightened by the immensity of our task. Then the miracle took place in the Temple, and the generation was inspired by the Maccabees and their head — Mattisyahu, the High Priest. We, on the other hand, are living in Golus, without a High Priest, and we are confronted by many difficulties in fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos. The Yetzer Hora can argue as follows: How can you lead a Jewish life and behave as a Jew should? You live in Golus; you are weak and few in number, while the gentiles are many and strong. However, the Chanukah miracle teaches us how to counter the argument. The miracle took place during a time of darkness; when the Jews suffered under harsh decrees; the Menorah could not be lit because all the oil was impure. However, even in a situation as severe as that, the Jewish people were given the power to overcome the difficulties and, what’s more, G‑d gave them the power to bring about a holiday in which eight candles are lit. Each Jew lights more candles now than were lit in the sanctuary itself.

The above leads us to the awareness that, even after the destruction of the second Temple, and even when living in a neighborhood that is not illuminated with the “light of Torah,” every Jew has the potential to create light and place his eight candles “at the outer door of his home.”

The Ramban declares that the Chanukah candles will never be nullified. Although the light of the Temple’s candles was nullified by the Temple’s destruction, the Chanukah candles will last eternally. This gives every Jew the potential to carry out G‑d’s mission, even when he finds himself within the darkness of exile, and to do so with joy. Chanukah shows how an increase in darkness brings about the potential for a Jew to add more light than was produced by the Menorah in the Temple, and for that light “never to be nullified.” This assures us of our ability to make our own home a Temple which will shed light throughout the entire world.

May the fulfillment of the Mitzvos of Chanukah serve as preparation for the time when, speedily we will merit to see, with our eyes, the building of the third Temple by Moshiach. There we will watch the Priest light a Menorah with seven candles. We will have the reward and the pleasure of knowing that our lighting of the Chanukah candles, and the fulfillment of the other Mitzvos, brought about the lighting of the Menorah by the Priest in the Temple. The efforts of the children are also important. Lighting candles, (or observing while another lights the candles, and answering Amen to his blessings,) and hearing the story connected with the Chanukah candles, brings about the lighting of the candles in the Temple, with the coming of Moshiach, may he come in the near future.