03 Dec It’s a Mystical Chanukah Charlie Brown
Transforming Darkness to Light
The Great Sages Shammai and Hillel oppose each other in their disagreement on lighting the Chanukah candles. Shammai says we should light 8 candles beginning on the first day reducing to 1 candle the last day. Hillel say light 1 candle first day then increase to 8 candles the last day. We hold by the tradition of Hillel by lighting 1 to the 8th candles… but with an understanding that when Mashiach comes we will hold to light as Shammai states… 8 to 1.
But further there is a very interesting insight that says although we will light in a Messianic time as Shammai as 8 to 1… there is no statement that we will not stop lighting as Hillel states 1 to 8. We will actually light both. We will at that time be ‘holding opposites’. Both ways to light the Chanukiah will be as one. How is that possible?
It is teaching us the concept that as we approach the Oneness of G-d in the world, the paradox will be resolved. When there is the harmony of Oneness, the plurality of the world will be resolved (rectified). All will be as One.
As we learn from Creation, the World of Chaos is Darkness and The World of Tikun is Light. First there was darkness then there was light.
Some brief examples of transformation of darkness to light;
The waters flowing over Niagara Falls hold tremendous power but the power of the falling water cannot be directly used, it’s too powerful and in a ‘state of unrectified energy’. ..Chaos. The water must pass over turbines and a number of step down transformers , come into your home, pass through a series of electrical mechanism until it actually reaches your outlet at home to be used in a form of rectified electricity you can then actually use to perhaps turn on your lights.
The battle of Chanukah was a battle of darkness vs light. The Syrian-Greek empire embraced the intellectual ways of science and rational thought, much as the western world [Edom] does today. The Jews however believed in the inclusion of the the tangible of the intellect, and the abstractness of spirituality. It should be noted that Torah does not discount the wisdom of the intellect of science, however Jewish wisdom does believe in a holistic approach that interincludes the wisdom of the mind (intellect) and the wisdom of heart (spiritual-emotive). In short, the Syrian –Greeks wanted to eliminate the presence of God’s spiritual and abstract thought from the world, and cleave to only the intellectual aspects of life.
One of the ideas that we might consider from the tragedy of the Holocaust. is that from such a darkness should come the power of great light… the resurgence of a Torah consciousness. In this rectification of darkness, the souls of all who perished will be elevated. As we come to the Final Redemption, we will physically and spiritually awakened from the 400 year slumber dating back to the ‘years of Mitzrayim-Egypt’. As we may understand, such an awakening may not be very comfortable, and change will be imminent as we approach a Messianic time.
When the Israelites were at the Yom Suf, their emunah was waning. It was by the Hand of G-d that the Egyptian pursued them and awakened their yira-awe by facing death .They stood at the banks of the Yom Suf and were bieng pursued by the Egyptians who were coming to kill them and …. and it worked. From the darkness of being killed by the Egyptians can Gods Hand their emunah – faith was awakened and with G-d as their partner, moved safely toward Mt Siani and the receiving of the Torah.
Where Yaakov and Esau meet (parshas Vayishlach), Esau is travelling with 400 men. Esau 400 men are significant and Kabbalistically represent the 400 unrectified sparks of Holiness that fell from the World of Chaos…Darkness, at the time of ‘the big bang’ and the creation of this world. These are the sparks of holiness (in an unrectified state) that needed to be revealed and elevated to rectify the world and bring Mashiach…. Light. Esau represents the most abundant fallen spark of Chaos, darkness. As Jacob approaches Esau he prostrates 7 times so as to subjugate and open the 7 emotive chambers of his heart to receive Esau both physically and spiritually. He is thus approaching the dark sparks of holiness in order to receive them and elevate them. This process continues on today and may be referred to as the process of the’ tshuvah or transformation of Esau’.
Where Joseph had intellectual wisdom (he was a child of Jacob old age), he lacked emotional wisdom.
His brothers threw him into the darkness of the pit. He was sold into slavery in ‘the darkness’ of Mitzrayim, and thrown into the darkness of jail. It was through the experience of ‘the darkness’ that Joseph was able to become nullified (humbled) and receive Hashem’s light in a most rectified way.
To approach the/our fallen sparks of holiness whether it is be a person, place or a thing such as lighting a candle, there must be the intent not only to give, but to receive . As in the matter of Jacob and Esau and the 400 fallen sparks of holiness (unrectified shards of Creation), the older Esau serves Jacob the younger (as the Torah states) by being the caretaker of the sparks in a negative or unrectified state for Jacob, a.k.a. Yisroel [Jews]… the Nation of Israel , the Land of Israel to reveal and ignite.
To light a candle one must bring close the flame to the wick, yet not touching it as the unlit wick must be given the chance to ‘receive the flame’. It is when the both flames become elevated as one single light that the candle is considered lit. This applies as a metaphor to how we treat one another and God; we must bring another close, to help light the flame of their heart with kindness and compassion, touching yet not touching.
The world environment of conflict is as a result of the powers of light and dark, chesed and gevurah, at odds with one another. The rectification of those powers we understand to be embodied in the spiritual vessel of Esau (the 400 sparks) and Jacob need to become revealed, ignited and rectified to bring about the Oneness of beauty and harmony… to bring about the rectified potential of Jacob as Yisroel, the Holy Land Israel , Her People Israel… and the Messianic Era.
Our actions must be greater than just waxing on about the obvious i.e. the revealed issues. We must take our anger and frustration and find a way to elevate it toward positive spiritual and physical change or it will ferment in us and chip away at our emunah-faith
The world’s fuel for transformation to bring Tiku Olam and theFinal Redemption comes from the continual resolve or rectifying of paradox’ opposites, or opposing forces.. the elevating of the sparks of holiness.
As we approach the End of Days, the potential for greater clarity will exist and the contrasts will seem greater before they seem less through the resolve (tikun) . It may seem at times to create the discomfort as a curse but we must recognize that within the darkness of what may seem like a curse or darkness, is contained the most powerful blessing.
Leib Getzel (Lawrence) Lax
Addictions and Counseling (Honors)