This letter was addressed to R. Yaakov Yisrael Zuber, an active communal Rabbi in Sweden.

B”H, the day of the sixth candle, the eve of the seventh candle1 [of Chanukah], 5710

Greetings and blessings,

In response to your letter [where you raised] the question asked by earlier [scholars] to clarify the approach of the Alter Rebbe in Torah Or, in the maamar entitled BeChof-Hei BeKislev, where he writes that at night, all seven lamps of the Menorah would be lit [in the Beis HaMikdash]. “During the day, by contrast, it was sufficient to light the sixth lamp.” This statement indicates that [the Alter Rebbe] follows the opinion of the authorities who maintain that the Menorah was positioned from east to west.2 You ask why the Alter Rebbe calls the Ner HaMaraavi3 the sixth lamp, while Rashi (Shabbos 22b) calls it the second lamp. See the Chasam Sofer, Orach Chayim, Responsum 186.

Another matter in the above-mentioned maamar requires explanation. In the maamar entitled VeHinei, the Alter Rebbe writes that during the day [the kohen]would light the sixth lamp after cleaning it and then light the seventh lamp, not only the sixth lamp.

In response to all the above:

a) In another place,4 I wrote a lengthy explanation of the manner in which the Menorah was placed, how the lamps were cleaned,5 [focusing] in particular on Rambam’s rulings in his Commentary to the Mishnah and his Yad HaChazakah and why he changes his rulings in the Yad HaChazakah from those in his Commentary to the Mishnah. With regard to the maamar mentioned above, it explains the opinions of those who maintain:

1) that the Menorah was kindled only at night (i.e., in contrast to Rambam’s opinion);

2) that the Menorah was positioned from east to west (according to Raavad’s view; see the gloss of Raavad to tractate Tamid, printed in the Vilna edition of the Talmud);

3) that during the day, the two easternmost lamps were kindled; (see Rashba, Responsa 79 and 309; the commentary of Ramban to Shabbos 22b and to Shmos 27:20; Tosafos, s.v. ulaheitiv, Yoma 71a; the statements of Tosafos, s.v. mimena, Menachos 86b, can be interpreted as only explaining the approach of Rashi concerning which they focus their discussion [and which Tosafos themselves do not accept]; [for] Rashi, Shabbos 22a; Menachos, loc. cit. and 88a,maintains that the miracle [of the Ner HaMaaravi burning the entire day] involved only one lamp; this is not the place for discussion of this issue);

4) that the Ner HaMaaravi is the second candle when proceeding from east to west, which is the sixth candle when proceeding from west to east (in contrast to Rambam’s Commentary to the Mishnah and Rashi’s commentary to Menachos 98b which maintain that it is the lamp that is closest to the Holy of Holies. The fact that Rashi’s statements there contradict those he made in Shabbos, loc. cit., has already been debated.)

b) Rashi emphasizes that the Ner HaMaaravi is the second lamp, while the Alter Rebbe emphasizes that it is the sixth lamp [for the following reasons]. Rashi is explaining why this lamp in particular is lit. [The rationale is that] since it is the second lamp, it is, [with the exception of the outermost lamp,] the one he encounters first.6 The Alter Rebbe is explaining why it is sufficient to light only that lamp. [The rationale is that this lamp] is identified with the attribute of Yesod, the sixth attribute, which is the fundamental medium through which influence is conveyed. Therefore he emphasizes why it is represented by the sixth lamp on the Menorah.

It is understood that given the following: a) the order of the emotional attributes when reckoned from above downward is ChaGaT NeHYM,b) the direction which indicates the progres­sion of levels in holiness in the Sanctuary and in the Beis HaMikdash from above downward is from west to east,7 the attribute of Yesod is identified with the sixth lamp from west to east which is the second lamp from east to west.

c) At the beginning of the maamar [cited], [the Alter Rebbe] writes that the sixth lamp would be kindled — even though the seventh lamp would also be kindled, as he writes after that — because he is employing the wording used by the Toras Kohanim, Sifri, and the Talmud. For all those sources state that only one lamp would be kindled. Nevertheless, in tractate Tamid, the conclusion of ch. 3, one of the Sages of the Mishnah revealed that as a matter of course, it was necessary that the lamp that is to the east of it also be kindled. This [lamp is kindled], however, only so that [the second lamp] will be called the western lamp, as explained by Ramban and Rashba, not that there is an obligation to kindle it on its own account.

d) It is still necessary to explain why [the Alter Rebbe] only mentions the kindling of the sixth lamp at the beginning of the maamar and afterwards he mentions that he would also kindle the seventh.

It is possible to explain that in the beginning of the maamar, the Alter Rebbe is explaining the concept of drawing Chochmah down to the emotional qualities. In that context, he explains that during the day,8 it is sufficient to draw down the influence to the attribute of Yesod, because then, as a matter of course, it is also drawn down to ChaGaT. (This can be explained on the basis of the statements in the additions to Torah Or at the conclusion of Parshas Vayechi in the interpretation of the verse:9Yosef is coming to you and Yisrael strengthened himself.”)10 In this context, the kindling of the seventh lamp is not significant; hence he does not mention it.

By contrast, in the section that begins VeHinei Acharei, he explains there that the influence is drawn down to the lowest levels. In this regard, the attribute of Malchus and its revelation are significant. [Malchus is alluded to] by the seventh lamp. (In the Tzemach Tzedek’s Or HaTorah, he cites the explanation of this conceptbased on the statements in Biurei HaZohar, the conclusion of Parshas Balak.) Therefore he writes that afterwards, he should kindle the seventh lamp.

The choice of the term “afterwards” is precise. For both according to Nigleh, the Torah’s revealed, legal dimension, and according to its mystic truths, the kindling of the seventh lamp comes as a matter of course after the kindling of the sixth lamp.

e) With regard to the days of Chanukah and their correspondence to the emotional qualities [within the Sefiros]: In the maamar entitled Baruch SheAsah Nissim (printed as an addendum to Derech Emunah), in the conclusion of sec. 4,[the Alter Rebbe] writes that the first seven days [of Chanukah] correspond to the “the seven primeval days of Atik” and the eighth day, called Zos Chanukah, corresponds to Malchus.11 If so, the sixth lamp corresponds to the attribute of Yesod. Thus this also parallels the order of the days of Sukkos, which resemble the days of Chanukah in certain regards, as explained in the Chanukah maamarim.

At the conclusion of the maamar entitled Ki Atah Neri (printed in the Tzemach Tzedek’s Or HaTorah), it is stated: “And [from the cruse of oil] they kindled [the Menorah] for eight days, from Binah until Malchus, [identified with]Zos Chanukah.” It thus appearsthat the seventh day of Chanukah corresponds to the attribute of Yesod. This is not the place for extended discussion of the matter.

With wishes for all forms of everlasting good,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson