By the Grace of G‑d

Third1 Day of
Parshas Vayeishev,
202 Kislev, 5746
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere,
G‑d bless you all!

Greeting and Blessing:

With the approach of Chanukah,3 may it bring us all much good, this message is sent as a brief reminder4 about some basic teachings5 of the Chanukah light, which is the first6 of the special Mitzvos connected with Chanukah: specifically in regard to the performance of this Mitzvah in terms of manner and place:

(1) The very act of lighting the candles shows even to the naked eye7 that the performance of the Creator’s commandments spreads the light of G‑dliness8 on earth—the lowest of worlds—thus exemplifying all the Mitzvos, as it is written9 Ner Mitzvah vTorah Or, “a Mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah is Light.”

(2) The Mitzvah of Chanukah Lights calls for lighting them in increasing number10 and light from night to night. The lesson is that although when one candle was lit on the first night of Chanukah, the Mitzvah was performed to perfection, yet it is not sufficient for the second night, having grown11 older and wiser by a day. Two candles are therefore lit on the second night. And so the number of candles is increased by an additional candle day after day throughout Chanukah, for a total of seven consecutive12 days to teach us that this is the way in all matters of Ner Mitzvah vTorah Or throughout the seven days of the week during the entire year,13 in compliance with the imperative of Ma’alin b’kodesh14 (keeping holiness on the ascendancy)—in a highly visible manner, also—in the growing diffusion of light in the environment at large.

(3) The Mitzvah of Ner Chanukah requires that the lights should shine also “outside.”15 This indicates, as has often16 been pointed out, that a Jew should not be content with merely spreading the light of Torah and Mitzvos in his own home, but it is part of his obligation and privilege to spread the light of Yiddishkeit, Torah and Mitzvos, also outside his home, to lighten up the outside,17 the street, the whole environment—

(4) Particularly those who, for one reason or another, find themselves “outside”18 the full experience of Jewish living. Hence, he brings light into their lives even while they are still outside, and as mentioned, in a most visible manner; and thereafter endeavors, as one should,19 to bring them ever closer to Yiddishkeit until he brings them inside.

(5) Moreover, the Chanukah Lights also indicate in a general way that although outside the sun has set,20 and “darkness covers the earth,”21 yet, comes the auspicious afternoon of Erev Chanukah,22 when the sunset reminds the Jew that the time and the moment have come when the Creator and Master of the universe sanctifies23 him with a new Mitzvah—whereupon he expresses gratitude to the Creator, reciting (also) the blessing of Shehecheyanu, thanking HaShem “for having kept us alive, preserved us, and enabled us to reach this time,” giving him the Mitzvah to kindle the Chanukah Lights.

(6) The Mitzvah of Ner Chanukah is obligatory on men and on women alike.24 But it is the custom25 of women to go even further and “not to do any work while the Chanukah Lights are burning.” So inspired are they with the Mitzvah and content of the Chanukah Light that all manner of other work becomes irrelevant to them while the sacred lights are burning.

May HaShem grant that the doing of all above by everyone, man and woman, in the midst of all our Jewish brethren—bearing in mind that the essential thing is the deed”26—and in a manner of “going from strength to strength,”27 steadily spreading the light all around, will hasten the end of darkness of our Golus, and of the world’s28 darkness,

And just as HaShem “performed miracles29 for our ancestors in those days at this time,” so will He perform for us miracles, wonders, and deliverances30 with the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, whose coming we await and “have awaited all day,” every day.

With esteem and blessing for inspiring
and bright days of Chanukah,
To illuminate also all days ahead
throughout the year,

/Signed: Menachem Schneerson/