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Tuesday, Kislev 26, 5779 / December 4, 2018


Q.  Lighting the Chanukah candles commemorates the miracle of the lights of the menorah in the Holy Temple, in which a small amount of oil, enough to last only one day, lasted eight days. Yet, the Chanukah menorah is different than the menorah in the Temple. How?


A. The menorah in the Temple had seven lights. The Chanukah menorah has eight lights for it commemorates the miracle which lasted eight days.


Q.  How is the kindling of the lights in the Chanukah menorah different than the lights kindled in the Temple?


A.  All seven of the lights in the Temple menorah were kindled each day. But with Chanukah menorah they are different each day. The first night one candle is lit and an additional light each day.


Also, the menorah in the Temple was lit inside the sanctuary.  But the Chanukah menorah has to be lit near a window or door, in order to announce the miracle of Chanukah to the world outside.


Q.  Why did the miracle of the oil in the Temple have to last exactly eight days?


A. When a Jew comes in contact with a dead body he becomes spiritually impure for a period of seven days. While in the state of impurity one is not permitted to enter the Temple, nor have any contact with the holy objects of the Temple.


Because of the battles fought with the Assyrian-Greeks Jews came in contact with the dead. Now they had to wait for the eighth day to become spiritually clean. Only then were they permitted to process the new oil to be used in the menorah of the Holy Temple. This is why the miracle had to last eight days.


Q.  The Chanukah lights have to be lit near a window or a door. They have to burn at least a half hour after dark. What lesson does this teach us?


A.   It teaches us that it is not enough for us to think only of ourselves and our family when performing mitzvot. But we must also feel responsible to advertise this miracle and help others perform the mitzvot. Thus, we light them where they will also be seen by others and thus, will publicize the miracle to others as well.


It also teaches us that a mitzvah is like a candle.  Just as even one small light can dispel much darkness, so too every mitzvah, no matter how small it may seem, has an effect in dispelling lots of spiritual darkness and bringing light to the world. For this reason the lights have to burn in the night when it is dark. May we all have a deLIGHTFUL Chanukah.