A Hanukkah Kavannah

Hanukkah is associated with the Sefirah of Hod as follows:  Keter: Yom Kippur, Chochmah-Binah: Rosh Hashanah 1 & 2, Chesed: Pesach, Gevurah: Shavuot, Tiferet: Sukkot, Netzach: Purim, Hod: Hanukkah, Yesod: Rosh Chodesh, Malchut: Shabbat.  Reb Zalman’s thinking on this is explained in his Etz Chayim Shel HaMoadim/ Tree of Life of Holidays, which text may be found in Yishmiru Da-at or The Ten Sefirot in Sacred Time, both available from Aleph).

Here is a translation of his section for Hanukkah which will serve as a wonderful preparation for this wonderful holiday.  (Hebrew and English together may be found below.)    Wishing you and yours a Happy Hanukkah!  Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor.

On Hanukkah, during which time the miraculous light shines on us, with candles from which we are not allowed to derive any benefit other than the enjoyment of watching them burn, for which enjoyment we give thanks (hod-ot) to God and praise God’s Hod aspects, and tap the presence of  Aaron the priest and the Hasmoneans the priests:  At this time, we publicize, one to another and to the world, the care and oversight with which we light, showing and espousing through this action, in turn, a publicizing of the miracle of the oil.

And on Hanukkah, all Jews, even those who are usually non-observant, embellish to the utmost the mitzvah, through lighting one additional candle each night, with thanks and splendor, before God, per the principle, (cf., Shabbos 21b), “Elevating in sacred matters, not lowering.” And also, they place the menorah below ten handbreadths [~ 3 feet].  A Mezzuzah goes on the right of a door post, (as to be expected for netzach / right leg), and the Hanukkah candles are lit from left to right (as to be expected for hod / left leg).  And we publicize the miracle until the passersby have vanished – as they used to do – from the street.   The marketing mentality and commerce eventually would stop, “until even the Tarmodians” – the merchants – “vanished” from the market.  And we now live in such a world where the custom isn’t as it used to be, i.e. for commerce to stop on Hanukkah night.  And yet, it is still our practice to publicize the wonder and the miracle!

“And so one can say: ‘I believe that Hashem, yisbarach, is the source of beauty and loveliness, of magnificence [hod] and glory and that our faith is strengthened through praying amidst beautiful music and through embellished mitzvahs, as when we increase the light each night, or an attractive menorah, or an attractive tallis, etc., i.e., attractiveness.  And the other practiced mitzvahs should also be attractive and pleasant, because God is for me, and I may adorn Her.  And every man and woman can entertain him/herself with the miracles and the wonders, with the kinds of children’s games fitting for the descendants of mehadrin min hamehadrin / embellishers [of mitzvot] to the utmost, (such as the ones who increase candles on successive nights of Hanukkah), in the palace of the house of their father who light wicks of faithfulness blessed is God who makes miracles.'”




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