It’s a Mystical Chanukah Charlie Brown
Transforming Darkness to Light
In what is considered a ‘machlokas (controversy, disagreement) for the ‘good’, is one that elevates a higher truth. Shammai and Hillel oppose each other in their disagreement (machlokas) on lighting the Chanukah candles (the Chanukiah). Shammai says we should light 8 candles beginning on the first day reducing to 1 candle by the last day. Hillel says light 1 candle first day then increase to 8 candles the last day. We hold by Hillel lighting 1 to 8 but with an understanding that when Mashiach comes we will hold to light as Shammai states; 8 to 1.
But there is a very interesting insight that says although we will light in a Messianic time as Shammai states; 8 to 1, there is no statement that we will stop lighting as Hillel states. 1 to 8. We will actually light both. Both Chanukiah’s 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 (machlokas) will be resolved. When there is the harmony of Oneness, the plurality of the world will be resolved… rectified. All will be as One.
The World of Chaos is Darkness, 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. It 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 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] of today. The Jews however believed in the inclusion of the abstractness of spirituality. It should be noted that Torah does not discount the wisdom of the intellect of science, however Jewish wisdom does beleive in a holisitic approach that interincludes the wisdom of the mind and the wisdom of heart, the intellect and the emotive/spiritual. In short, the Syrian –Greeks wanted to eliminate the presence of God’s spiritual and abstract consciousness from the world.
One of the ideas that we might consider from the tragedy of the Holocaust is that from such a darkness could come the power of great light. 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 a 400 year slumber dating back to the ‘years of Mitzrayim-Egypt’. As we may understand, such an awakening may not be very comfortable.
When the Israelites were at the Yom Suf, there 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 potentially being killed by the Egyptians, Gods Hand awakened their emunah – faith , and with G-d as their partner they moved safely across the Yom Suf toward Mt Siani and the receiving of the Torah.
Where Yaakov and Esau meet (parshas Vayishlach), Esau was travelling with 400 men. The 400 men of Esau are significant and Kabbalistically represent the 400 unrectified sparks of Holiness that fell from the World of Chaos (The Darkness) at the time of ‘the big bang’ … the Creation of This World. These are the sparks of holiness (in an unrectifiedd state) that needed to be revealed and elevated to rectify the world and bring the Light of Mashiach. 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’.To approach the 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 . The older Esau serves Jacob the younger (as the Torah states) by being the caretaker of the sparks in a negative state for Jacob, a.k.a. Yisroel, the Nation and People 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.
Today’s 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 and Jacob need to become revealed, ignited and rectified to bring about the Oneness of beauty and harmony… Jacob as Yisroel; the Holy Land, Her People 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 comes from the continual resolve of paradox, opposites, or opposing forces.., and thus 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 as we continue on the path of resolve (tikun) . It is the simultaneous existence of a curse and a blessing that may ultimatley allow us to see more clearly what needs to be rectified.
The greater the darkness, the more powerful the light.
Leib Getzel (Lawrence) Lax
Addictions and Counseling (Honors)