The parasha reading of the Torah for Shabbat Chanukah is always - let me repeat this - always the parasha of Mikketz. In all of the parishiot readings during the year the Sages only gave us a mnemonic - a memory tool for words in this parasha. The Hebrew word that translates as word also translates as thing. The gematria of Daber - word is 206 one less than the gematria of the Hebrew word for Light which is 207. When we remember that there are 2025 words in the parasha of Mikketz we have a hint to the Holiday of Chanukah.
How does 2025 hint to Chanukah? The holiday of Chanukah relates to the Hebrew word Ner with its gematria of 250. When we light 8 candles or lights on the 8 nights which are the longest - darkest nights of the year we have 8 times 250 or 2000. When we add the 25th day to this total we get our hint in the number 2025.
The translation of the Name Mikketz is "from the end." One way to understand darkness - as in the longest nights of darkness is to realize that it is always the darkest before the dawn which is before the light or the sun rises. This is what happens during the Holiday of Chanukah as we will come to realize during our 8 days of contemplation - our 8 days of connection to the Chashmonai - our 8 days of calculation.
As a child we learn that there was a miracle associated with the 8 days of Chanukah related to the oil that burned in the Temple for 8 days when there was only found one day's worth of lighting oil. This oil lasted 8 days we are told as children. Actually we learn as adults that this is not truth. It does not take 8 days to get the oil from Mount Olive which is a few minutes away and is filled with olives which are harvested in Cheshvan and Kislev. This is the hint to us to study like a child about Chanukah with joy and happiness and by playing games and singing like children. Learn this lesson well since being a child teaches us to trust our parents - HaShem in addition to our actual physical parents.
In the Second Temple era, the Greek sovereignty decreed many terrible decrees upon the Jewish people and did not allow them to involve themselves in Torah learning or Mitzvah observance with hopes of making them forget the commandments of the Torah. Additionally, the Greeks entered the Bet Hamikdash and inflicted much damage and disrepair upon it. All this caused tremendous anguish to the Jewish nation until HaShem had mercy on them and brought about salvation to Israel through the sons of the Chashmonai high-priests who defeated and annihilated the Greeks and eventually appointed a member of their own priestly family as king.
The Bnei Yissaschar - A Sage of Israel wrote [Kislev-Tevet 4:38] and notes how the Chashmonai priests helped to undo the terrible decrees against keeping a calendar (Chodesh), observing the Sabbath (Shabbat) and doing circumcision (Milah), the initial letters of Ch-Sh-M form the root of Chashmonai, hinting to their generational tikune.
When the ChaShMoNai family entered the recently ruined Temple and wished to light the pure Menorah (candelabra), only one container of pure olive oil [SheMeN] enough to last for only one day was found.
In the story of Chanukah there was a Priestly family called Maccabee consisting of a High Priest and 5 sons. This High Priest refused to follow the directions of the Greek Syrians who were trying to destroy the religion and culture of Judea. He and his sons escaped to the mountains of Judea and rebelled against the Greek Syrian Government. In many stories they are referred to as the Maccabees and in other writings they are referred to as the Chasmonai. As discussed above and below these terms are codes for many ideas that relate to the Holiday of Chanukah.
The government of the Children of Israel based on Torah consists of three components. Kingship, Judicial, and Priests. Only twice in the history of the Children of Israel were these 3 levels held by one person. This was Moshe and the second time was after the defeat of the Greeks by the Maccabee - Chasmonai people.
Continuing with our Chanukah Discussion
Nevertheless, HaShem performed a miracle and the flames of the Menorah kindled for eight [SheMoNah] consecutive days until they were able to procure more olives in order to produce more pure olive oil. The day that the single container of pure oil was found was the 25th of Kislev and thus, the Sages of that generation established these eight days, beginning with the 25th of Kislev as days of thanksgiving and joy. Furthermore, they established that candles should be lit every one of these eight nights in order to publicize this miracle. These days are called “Chanukah.”
Note the Cheshbon/accounting we find in the Chanukah miracle. ("CheShBoN" hints to the Chanukah miracles with Chodesh-Shabbat- Brit/covenant circumcision-Nes miracle)
On the 25th day of Kislev, enough oil to last for one day miraculously lasted for eight days. The eight days are the 25th of Kislev, 26th of Kislev, 27th of Kislev, 28th of Kislev, 29th of Kislev, 30th of Kislev, 1st of Tevet, and the 2nd of Tevet.
This holiday established by the Sages strangely begins at the end of the month and then continues through and ends in the next month. This is not the place (nor are we interested in) showing any connections whatsoever with that rueful date of the 25th day of the Solar month, the eve of which many refuse to study Torah.
Rather, according to Jewish tradition, during the year of Creation, the fall equinox fell on the 25th day of Elul. Fascinatingly, three months from this day is the 25th day of Kislev, the first night of Chanukah.
Chanukah is the symbolic winter solstice (although the date of the winter solstice varies from year to year on the Jewish lunar calendar) because the winter solstice fell on the 25th of Kislev in the year of Creation. The first day of Chanukah is thus the darkest day of the year, and the day from which darkness begins to retreat and the light begins to increase. (Benei Yissaschar, Kislev-Tevet 4:113)
This dark time calls for us to do a Cheshbon HaNefesh/an accounting of one's self. For it is known that the work we began in the Chodesh HaCheshbon/the month of accounting--Elul--through Tishrei of the high holydays, through month of Cheshvan [see the similarity] is completed on Zot Chanukah, the 8th day of our holiday.
The same time we are doing a Cheshbon Chashmonai--an accounting of the days the Chashmonai priests witnessed HaShem's miracle on the 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th of Kislev and 1st and 2nd of Tevet--we also should be doing a Cheshbon HaNefesh/a spiritual accounting of what we still need to do to complete our return.
It is said in Chassidic teachings that we have 8 days to fix what needs repair. Chanoch adds: There are Sages that teach that the connection between the Days of Awe and Hoshana Rabah actually end on Zot Chanukah.
Along those lines, during Chanukah it is proper to strengthen ourselves in the areas of learning Torah, Davening (prayer) and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of kindness). (See Pri Megadim Siman 670 at length for a fascinating explanation how the Greeks were trying to prevent the Jews from upholding the three pillars of the world: Torah, Avodah and Gemilat Chasadim and thus, we need to intensify our efforts precisely in these areas.)
It is customary to give extra Tzedakah on the days of Chanukah, especially to support poor people who spend their lives dedicated to learning Torah. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and Magen Avraham.) The Yesod V’Shoresh H’Avodah (Sha’ar 12:1) expounds on this, based on the Zohar Hakadosh and the Kitvei Ha’Arizal, that one who is lax in giving of Tzedakah all year round can rectify the harm this laxity caused by increasing his/her Tzedakah on Chanukah, especially if giving to support those who learn/teach Torah.
It is a crying shame that most of us after lighting and singing a few songs leave the presence of the candles and run to our latkes, sufganiyot, and dairy dishes. There are tremendous spiritual segulot/treasures to be gained from hanging around our Menorahs and contemplating the significance of the lights.In this teaching of Chanukah, we have followed our custom of providing nightly meditations to help us to internalize the flames and to find personal meaning on each day. The contemplations track the Cheshbon/accounting of the numbers 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 1, and 2.
Here's the Seder/Order for each day's work. Know that in each Jewish month there are 4 weeks.
According to the RaShaSh:
The first week stands for the energy of Abba/Father and Chochmah/Wisdom.
The second week stands for the energy of Imma/Mother and Binah/Understanding.
The third week stands for the energy of Zeir Anpin/Lesser Presence and Tiferet/Harmony, Bridging.
The fourth week stands for the energy of Nukva/Female and Malchut/Sovereignty, Receiving. This is the main week of Chanukah. The 30th day of the month stands for the energy of the inner vessels of Arik Anpin/Greater Presence and Keter/Crown. The first day of the month stands for the energy of the outer vessels of Arik Anpin and Keter. The second day of the month stands for the energy of the Chesed/Kindness of Abba/Father and Chochmah/Wisdom.
On each day of Chanukah, we reveal the particular energy of that day of the month. We do not dwell too long on the mystical connection. It is suggested that there are deep secrets to be revealed on this level. We then give over the holy correlations noted by the great Sephardic Sage Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, the Ben Ish Chai.
After this information, we then provide two types of meditations to be employed while you gaze at the lights:
Hitbonenut/Contemplation: This concerns the discussion we gave over concerning the number of the day, 25, 26, 27 etc. and solicits your "kicking over" in your head what that information means to you.
Hitbodedut/Meditation: This is a more complex type of Kabbalistic intention usually based on gematria/numerology and yichudim/spiritual unifications. These are to be done in thought only, save for when words are asked to be spoken. It is our sincere prayer that the Cheshbon Chashmonai/accounting of Chanukah leads you to a Cheshbon HaNefesh/a spiritual accounting, ultimately bringing you to teshuva shleimah/a complete return to your true self.
Even more amazing is the fact that the twenty-fifth of the 42 journeys / place the Jews camped was Chashmonah (Bemidbar 33:29). Chanukah begins on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev and the Maccabees were Chashmonaim.
The Ben Ish Chai has noted several correlations related to 25:
-the unification of Hashem's Great Name that we say twice once in morning and once at night in the Shema Yisrael that has 25 letters;
-the Holy Name YH'Y which totals 25, and for the Holy Name HY'Y which totals 25;
-the lights of the 5 Chassadim when each includes the other (5x5) which total 25;
chanoch adds: Do you know where the 5 Chassadim and 5 Gevurot come from and get sent to?
-the letters of the 3rd Priestly blessing "Yisa Hashem Panav Ailekha Waysaim Lekha Shalom" which has 25 of the 60 letters;
the merit of Yotam Ben Uziyahu who was king in Judah for 25 years;
-the merit of Hizkyahu who was king in Judah for 25 years;
-the secret of the 3 unifications of Havaya Ekyeh (47) , Havaya Elokim, (112) and Havaya Adnut (91) which have total 250. As taught in earlier classes.
Hitbonenut/Contemplation 25 is spelled Kaf Heh, and would be pronounced "Koh." The Holy Zohar says that Koh stands for the Shechinah, the Indwelling Divine Presence of G-d.
When prophets would prophesy they would say, "Koh Amar HaShem," ("Thus says HaShem.") This Koh/this 25 would be the still, small voice inside us.
The Divine Presence dwells within us. "Build me a Sanctuary and I will dwell inside them" promised our LORD in the building of the Mishkan. And this is what was promised to our ancestors and to us.
On Chanukah, which means dedication, we need to rededicate our internal Menorah. Being mindful and taking stock of our life, we need to rebuild a place for the Holy to dwell, a place inside our heart. G-d is not "out there somewhere." She--the Divine Feminine symbolized by the Menorah--rests within us.
The final correlation mentioned by the Ben Ish Chai for 25 forms the main kavanot for the word Ner/lamp in the blessing for Chanukah, "Lehadlik Ner Chanukah."
Stare at the first candle we lit. Meditate that NeR/lamp or candle is an abbreviation for Nefesh/soul and Ruach/spirit. Pledge to dedicate your physical and emotional energies to stay present and intentional.
Now do the following yichud/unification and feel the light flow through your body:There are 25 letters in the following three weavings of Holy Names:
Havaya and Ekyeh (gematria 47): יאההויה'ה
This stands for the Keter, the crown on top of your head.
Havaya and Elokim (gematria 112): יאהלוההי'ם This stands for your emotions as well as for the marriage of your right and left brains.
Havaya and Adnut (gematria 91): יאהדונה'י This stands for the integration of body and soul, your arms, torso, legs, genitals, and feet.
The marriage of Tiferet of Malchut. Intend that the total of all three names is 250, that of NeR/lamp and 10 times 25.
Feel the power of the 25, the Koh, the Shechinah, flowing through your body, as you yourself are now a NeR, a Chanukah NeR, a rededicated self in body and soul. And may we all say Amen.
Netzach of Nukva/Malchut of the month of Tiferet of Zeir Anpin/Tiferet [RaShaSh]
If you think you understand what the Rashash is teaching us - YOU DO NOT
Overcoming power of Receiving
On this 26th day of Kislev, the 2nd Night of Chanukah, we receive the teaching of the RaShaSh, that when we say the word Chanukah in the blessing over the NeR/lamps, we are to parse the word Chanukah into "Chanah Ku." Chanukah חנוכה; Chanah חנה; Ku כו.
Chanah, the mother and martyr, played a famous role in Chanukah is described below. Chanah's name has the gematria of 63, which is a form of HaShem's Name Havaya related to Imma/mother, spelled out as this:
יוד הי ואו הי
And Ku, which is Kaf Vav, totals 26, which is the gematria of HaShem's Name of Havaya, Yod and Hey, Vav and Hey like this: יהוה
The Ben Ish Chai reveals other correlations with 26:
-the letters in HaShem's Great Name Havaya (Yod and Hey and Waw and Hey) which total 26;
-the Holy Name YAH"Y which totals 26; יאהי
-the great Hallel of Psalm 136 which has 26 verses;
-the 10 Holy Names from your Great Name which total 10 times 26 or 260;
-the secret of the depths hinted in the verse "MiMa'amakim Keraticha HaShem/From the depths I call to You, HaShem!" which are 10 x 26 or 260.
Chana and Her Seven Sons: A Mother's Heroism and Martyrdom
Antiochus was determined to enforce his vicious edicts upon the Jews, effectively destroying their attachment to the Torah. He forbade the observance of all religious laws; anyone found with a Torah would be executed; circumcision, kosher food, Shabbat, all vestiges of Mitzvot that separated a person from Greek Wisdom were outlawed.
Phillip was appointed governor of Judea, and he set out to ruthlessly enforce the king's edicts. He decided to begin his campaign with the arrest of the notable sage and High Priest, Elazar. Elazar thwarted Phillip's design by choosing martyrdom over submission. Soon after Chana and her seven sons were arrested.
When the king, who was returning to Antioch, heard about the events which were taking place in Jerusalem, he decided to take an active role in enforcing his decrees. The mother and her sons were bound and brought before the king.
Antiochus tried to convince the eldest boy to abandon the Torah. The youth responded with great confidence, "Why do you bother with this long speech, trying to inflict your abominable religion upon us? We are ready to welcome death for the sake of our holy Torah!"
The king was furious and ordered the boy's tongue, hands and feet severed and placed in a fire. The soldiers proceeded to torture the boy, forcing his mother and six brothers to watch his excruciating pain. Antiochus was sure that this sight would intimidate his prisoners into unquestioning submission.
Instead, the martyrdom spurred the family to a deep resolve to accept their fate and to sanctify G-d's name. When the second brother was brought to the king, even the members of the king's retinue begged the boy to obey the king. The boy, however replied, "Do what you will with me. I am no less than my brother in devotion to G-d." The second son's torture was as bitter as his brother's had been.
As he died he told the king, "Woe to you, pitiless tyrant! Our souls go to G-d. And when G-d will awaken the dead and His martyred servants, we will live. But you - - your soul will dwell in a place of eternal abhorrence!"
As children we understand this human reaction to "curse" someone else. As adults we need to learn to beg HaShem to forgive our enemies since our enemies have parts of our uncorrected souls that the only way to make Tikune for these soul parts is to ask HaShem to forgive our enemies. This is taught by the Baal Shem Tov and our class series of "You Are Who and What You Hate." Ultimately, we will see that our lack of unity and doing our spiritual work properly is why these atrocities are allowed to be effected on our bodies. In this case, in my opinion, the Greeks and then the Romans were invited into the Land to use their political human physical power to protect the Nation instead of turning to HaShem as our only protection. This still goes on today. We depend on the United States as "the" world power to protect the Nation State of Israel when our only protection comes from HaShem. Our enemies called Palestinian's today are actually part of the 10 Lost Tribes and their Souls along with our Souls that still needs to be corrected and achieve our Tikune.
Return to the story of Chana and Her 7 sons
To the amazement of all, the third brother unflinchingly suffered the same fate. The fourth brother echoed his brothers' exhortations, and faced his brutal death with firm resolve. Before he was killed, the fifth brother turned to Antiochus and said: "Don't suppose that G-d has handed us over to you to exalt you or because He hates us. It is because He loves us and has granted us this honor. G-d will take His vengeance upon you and your progeny."
If the foreign King is doing the will of HaShem why is he going to be punished for doing what HaShem wants? This same question has to be asked about Pharaoh in the time of the Exodus. The answer relates to the individual human going overboard in doing his action to wake up the Children of Israel. The Egyptians went overboard with respect to their "hard" labor on the Children of Israel. The Greeks and then the Romans also went overboard to try to change each individual's connection to the Creator. Germany during the showa did not go overboard and that is why the German people recovered from the Second World War on a physical level. Yes, i know the Showa seems to be an overboard and to some extent this is true. Individuals went overboard not the whole nation, in my opinion.
Return to the story of Chana and Her 7 sons
The blood-lust of the king was not assuaged, and the sixth brother was brought to the same end as his brothers who preceded him. His words bespoke his deep faith that G-d would ultimately requite the suffering of His servants.
Throughout this horrible sequence Chana stood by her sons, giving them strength and encouragement. Now only the youngest child remained to face the king. When they brought the boy, the king offered him gold and silver if he would do his will. The seven-year-old boy displayed the same courage as his brothers and taunted the king to carry out his threats.
The king couldn't believe such words coming from a mere child, and he called out to Chana. Chana stood before the murderer of her children and listened to his words. "Woman, have compassion upon this child. Persuade him to do my will so that you will have at least one surviving child and you too will live." She pretended to agree and asked to speak with her son.
When they stood together, Chana kissed the boy, then said, "My son, I carried you in my body for nine months. I nursed you for two years and I have fed you until today. I have taught you to fear G-d and uphold His Torah. See the heaven and the earth, the sea and the land, fire, water, wind and every other creation. Know that they were all created by G-d's word. He created man to serve Him and He will reward man for his deeds. The king knows he is condemned before G-d. He thinks that if he convinces you, G-d will have mercy on him. G-d controls your life's breath and can take your soul whenever He desires. If only I could see the greatness of your glorious place where we would be illuminated with G-d's light and rejoice and exult together."
Chana returned to the king, saying, "I was unable to prevail upon him." The exasperated king again addressed the child who answered him, "Whom are you seeking to overpower with your words and enticements? I laugh at your foolishness. I believe in the Torah and in G-d Whom you blaspheme. You will remain an abomination upon all mankind, loathsome and far from G-d."
The king was enraged. According to the Talmud, Antiochus gave the boy a chance to save himself by ostensibly bowing down to retrieve his signet ring, but the boy refused. As they removed him, Chana begged to kiss him one last time. As if speaking to all seven children Chana said, "My children, tell your ancestor Abraham, 'You bound only one son upon an altar, but I bound seven." Then Antiochus ordered that the child be tortured even more than his brothers.
Chana was left surrounded by the bodies of her sons, a prayer exalting G-d on her lips. Then the distraught woman threw herself from a roof and rested beside her martyred sons.
Today we access the 26, the gematria of יהוה the Great Holy Name of Yod (10) and Hey (5) and Vav (6) and Hey (5) [total 26], HaShem, The Holy One blessed is He, the Luminous Lovelight of the One! Famous ancestors accessed יהוה the 26: Yitzhak whose name totals 208 which is 8 times 26; his son Yaakov whose name totals 182 which is 7 times 26; his son Yosef whose name totals 156 which is 6 times 26.
Where was Avraham with the 26? His name totals 248 for the 248 limbs of the Shechinah--HaShem's Feminine Divine presence, as well as 8 times Shem Kel (31), standing for Chesed. 31 is 26 plus 1 for each letter of Havaya plus the kollel. It also is the filling of Sag, which is the Great Holy Name related to Binah/Imma/Mother, as such יוד הי ואו הי
Tonight is all about bringing the flow of Holy Mothering energy from mother to daughter. According to the RaShaSh, based on the Arizal the NeR/lamp stands for the Malchut, which receives the flow from Zeir Anpin, the masculine giving energy of G-d. When we say the words "NeR Chanukah" in the blessing after lighting, we intend that the NeR, the Malchut, receives Shefa/abundance from Imma/Mother, hinted in the parsing of Chanukah as "Chanah Ku," or the Names Sag [sharing gematria Chanah] and Havaya [Ku or 26], representing Supernal Mother יוד הי ואו ' הי יהו'ה
Stare at the 2 candles you lit tonight. Ignore the Shamesh. Imagine that the first candle on the right stands for Binah or Mother. Intend the Name Sag יוד הי ואו הי This is the light of Chana, sharing the same gematria. Feel the light emerging from your left brain, the left side of your skull. This is mothering energy, energy of strength, of protection, of nurturing, of sacrifice for one's child. Pour that energy into your heart, represented by the space between the 2 candles. Your heart stands for the letters יהוה of Havaya, the "Ku" of Chanukah mentioned above.
Now direct the flow from your heart, the יהוה to the second candle, the one to the left of the first one you lit, through your entire body down to the earth, which is the Malchut (also the Menorah) which receives this energy. With the power of the light that comes from above through your heart, through your body, to the ground, believe that you can Overcome all obstacles in your way, as the Chashmonaim through the Maccabees, overcome the Syrian Hellenist forces that sought to defeat them.
Know in your heart of hearts that your "issues" are now a bit lighter and less taxing to your soul.
The Talmud says that the time for the mitzvah of candle-lighting is until the last person has left the market. On a simple level this means that in order to publicize the miracle one should light candles while there are still people about. However, on a slightly deeper level, one should understand this as meaning that we need the light of the candles, the light of Torah to illuminate the world until the seemingly overwhelmingly powerful force of the marketplace is overpowered by that light. ad she-tichleh regel min ha-shook / Until all have left the market, - the market place of ideas and returned to life, meaning HaShem and Torah - returned to the light that shined from Sinai—the light of mutual obligation and responsibility, which our Sages teach is the ultimate level of Love of Our Neighbors.
Hod of Nukva/Malchut of the month of Tiferet of Zeir Anpin/Tiferet [RaShaSh]
Enabling the ability to Receive
Today is the 27th day of Kislev, the Third Night of Chanukah 27 spelled כז Kaf Zayin is the gematria of the word זָךְ Zach spelled Zayin Kaf, meaning pure שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ shemen zayit zach (pure oil)
Pure olive oil (“shemen zayit zach”) was used on a daily basis for the Menorah, tended by the “Kohen Gadol,” the High Priest, and for the anointment of the holy vessels that were used in the “Avodah,” the Service of HaShem, in the Mishkan. It was used as well to anoint the “Kohanim,” the Priests, as HaShem said to Moshe, “…You shall anoint them, inaugurate them and sanctify them, and they shall serve Me.” (Shemot 28:41)
This was the main part of the Chanukah Menorah Miracle, that one Pak/flask of pure olive-oil was found untouched by the Syrian Greeks, and that it lasted for 8 nights until new oil could be obtained.
chanoch adds: This is what we teach our children. What do we learn as adults?
Rabbi Ginsburgh notes that Zach, the number 27, protects us from assimilating:
Shemen (Oil) rises to top and coats the surface–area - When the Jewish people delve into the secrets of the Torah (oil) they produce coatings (garments).
Zayit (Olive fruit and tree) Tree does not shed leaves - Eternity of Jewish people
Zach (Pure) Oil does not mix with other substances - Jewish people will not totally assimilate
The Ben Ish Chai notes other correlations for 27:
-The Holy Name AWHZ"H which is hinted in the verse Ohazah bisansinav / 'I will take hold of its branches," which totals 27;
-The Holy Name HAK"A which is hinted in the final letters of Eh'Ehv'rah Na B'arzkha lo /"Let me now pass through your land," which totals 27;
-the letters in the filling of the Name EHY'H which are 27;
-the Holy Name from the 72 Names which is YY"W which totals 27;
-the 27 letters of the Torah with the 5 letters MNTZPK which total 27.
Kavanot after lighting the lamps
What could there be after 26, really? After all, 26 is The Real Thing. "Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing, Baby! " So He is, was, and will be. But we who stood at Sinai and heard Him speak the letter Alef of Anokhi in the Esser Debrot - 10 Statements of the Torah very quickly stumbled with the Sin of the Calf, the Spies, the Mutiny of Korah, etc. That means that the work is never complete. We have had a taste of 26. What lingers? Today we move to purity. For number 27 is spelled Kaf Zayin, reversed is Zach meaning to purify.
Zachah/pure frankincense of the incense offering mentioned in the Torah (Shemot 30:34). This purity is the 3rd step of the Baraita of R. Pinchas ben Yair (Mishnah Sotah 9:15),** after alacrity and cleanliness, and thus is in the place of the Sefirat Hod/glory according to R. Yitzchak Ginsburgh.
Hod/glory according to Rabbi Ginsburgh is the place of healing, a hint noted that in some traditions the Standing Prayer for Healing has 27 (Zach/pure) words.*** Too, Hod/glory is found on the left column of the Sefirot, showing the influence of Gevurah/restriction. We see another 27 in that the 5 final form Hebrew letters gives us 27 (22 + 5). [see Hitbodedut Meditation below]
These final form Hebrew letters stand for judgment, for they "cut" and finalize the flow of every word. Perhaps these 5 final letters--whose numerical totals is 280 representing the PaR (280) passive judgments--allude to the purification of judgment [the PaRaH adumah/Red Heifer];that comes when one does the self work necessary after the opening of the eyes of Day 26.
**Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair says, Alacrity leads to cleanness - that frees one of the negative qualities and sin - and cleanness leads to purity - that of mind and heart - and purity leads to abstention - from secular indulgence - and abstention leads to holiness - that hallows life as noted by the Sages (Yev. 20a): "Sanctify yourself through that which is permitted to you" (i.e., even within the bounds of the permissible) - and holiness leads to humility - he who scorns material satisfaction reaches a state of humility - and humility leads to fear of sin - the fear of the evil deed as such rather than its punishment - and fear of sin leads to saintliness - when acting beyond the strict requirements of the law (others associate this with actions performed for the sake of Heaven (see Tosafot Yom Tov), and saintliness leads to Divine Inspiration - so that the Divine Presence will rest upon him (Rashi), and Divine Inspiration leads to the resurrection of the dead - as it is said (Ezek. 37:14): "And I will place My spirit in you, and you shall live," i.e., by imbuing them with the Divine Inspiration they will gain the life everlasting (Jer. Talmud) and the resurrection of the dead will be affected by Elijah, of blessed memory, Amen - as it is written (Mal. 3:23): "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the arrival of the great and awesome day of the Lord."
Today's meditation is all about purifying oneself in the light of the three candles in front of us. As we know, healing is all about and Harmony or Tiferet, which relates to 3, hinting to balance on the right, on the left, and on the middle.
Gaze at the three candles.
Imagine that the candle on the right stands for purifying light streaming down the right side of your body. Imagine that the candle on the left stands for purifying light streaming down the left side of your body. Imagine that the center candle in the middle stands for purifying light streaming down the center.
Now it is time to imbue ourselves with the energy of the 22 Hebrew letters and their final 5 forms, the 27 of Zach/purity. chanoch adds: 27 divides equally into 3 representing the three candles of tonight. For the purifying light that flows down your right side, chant softly to yourself the following nine Hebrew letters with their natural sounds:
אָ בֵּ גִ דָ הֵ וָ זָ חֵ טֵ
Ah Bey Gi Dah Hey Wah Zah Chey Tey
For the purifying light that flows down your left side, chant softly to yourself the following nine Hebrew letters with their natural sounds:
יֹ כָ לָ מֵ נּ סָ עָ פֵּ צָ
Yo Kah Lah Mey Nu Sah Ah Pey Tzah
For the purifying light that flows down your center, chant softly to yourself the following nine Hebrew letters with their natural sounds:
קֹ רֵ שִׁ תָ םֵ ןּ ץָ ףֵ ךָ
Ko Rey Shee Tah Mey Nu Tzah Pey Kah
Now dwell on the last 2 letters, the Peh and the Kaf Sofit. פך
This spells the word פַּךְ PaKh or flask.
Contemplate that you are now the "Pakh Echad," the "one flask of oil that was lying there with the seal of the Kohen Gadol/High Priest" [Shabbat 21b].
You are now the source of the Chanukah miracle, having purified yourself. Imagine what miracles you desire in your life, and plan how you will bring them into fruition.
רְפָאֵנוּ ה' וְנֵרָפֵא. הושִׁיעֵנוּ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה כִּי תְהִלָּתֵנוּ אָתָּה. וְהַעֲלֵה רְפוּאָה שְׁלֵמָה לְכָל מַכּותֵינוּ :*** :כִּי אֵל מֶלֶךְ רופֵא נֶאֱמָן וְרַחֲמָן אָתָּה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', רופֵא חולֵי עַמּו יִשרָאֵל
The Talmud reports that the reason for adding a candle to the menorah every night of Hanukkah is that “One may raise up within holiness but one may not lower within holiness.” This principle usually governs an action that may or may not be taken with regard to vessels, materials, and foodstuffs that are dedicated to the Temple. In one example, a priest’s worn clothes may be used for wicks in the Temple candelabra but not for more mundane purposes. How might we understand this in relation to our more modest candelabra?
We are moved to the deeper meaning of the candlelight. Just as with each added candle there is more light, we must constantly add to the quantity of holiness in the world. How does one expand holiness in the world? The Torah (Leviticus 19) commands, “You shall be holy, for I God, your God, am holy.” This general statement is followed by a list of specific actions, including this: “You shall do no iniquity in justice. You shall not favor the wretched and you shall not defer to the rich. In righteousness you shall judge your fellow … You shall not stand over the blood of your fellow. I am God.”
The blood of our fellow citizens, black and brown, is spilled in our streets—by those who are part of the justice system. We may not stand by silently anymore.
We are doing pretty well with not favoring the wretched, but we can do way better with not defering to the rich. We must get back to righteousness. We must get to justice.
Yesod of Nukva/Malchut of the month of Tiferet of Zeir Anpin/Tiferet [RaShaSh]
Bonding to Receive
Today is the 28th day of Kislev. 28 is the word כֹּחַ , or power. The word ChaNuKaH, can be parsed into KoaCH NavaH כֹּחַ נָאוָה The power of comely/fitting praise נָאוָה תְהִלָּה For Chanukah is a holiday all about praise, as each day in our prayers we insert in the Al HaNisim prayer, וְקָבְעוּ שְׁמונַת יְמֵי חֲנֻכָּה אֵלּוּ בְּהַלֵּל וּבְהודָאָה "They established these 8 days of Chanukah for praise and expressing thanks" (Sefardi version).
We say a full Hallel/praise each day. And we learn about the power of praise and giving thanks from our Mother Leah, who upon having her 4th child Yehudah, exclaimed הַפַּעַם אוֹדֶה אֶת יְהוָה "This time, I will praise HaShem." As we have taught previously, the name Yehudi, or Jew, comes from Leah, and connotes the power of praise and thanksgiving.
On this day of the Power of Comely/Fitting Praise, כֹּחַ נָאוָה , we also recall Chana, the mother of Shmuel, the Prophet, who prayed to HaShem on his birth after her years of being barren. Chana's prayer added a new dimension to our understanding of the relationship between G-d and the Jewish people. Chana asked for a personal blessing so that she might more fully serve G-d. Her joy at bearing a child expressed not only her personal thanks to HaShem, but her gratitude and wonder at His total mastery of Creation. Chana harnessed her own joy as a tool for praise. Rather than restricting the blessing she had received, she associated it with a greater sense of good that is provided only by G-d. the source of Chana's contribution lies in her awareness of G-d's existence in the life of every Jew.
Through Chana we understand that when G-d blesses just one of us, He is in essence blessing us all. This awareness we will revisit in our meditations below. The Ben Ish Chai reveals some more 28's:
-the letters in Your Great Name's filling of the filling which total 28; chanoch adds: The third level of expansion of Yood Hay Vav Hey has 28 letters.
-the supernal light called Koach which totals 28;
-the Koach Ado-nay/power of My Lord, which is the secret of the 7 Names Havaya which have 28 letters;
the lights of the 2 YaD/Hand (14) which total 28;
-the final letters MNTZPk which total 280.
Any discussion on 28 would not be complete without the tremendous work by my chaver Dovid Gurwitz [edited]: Now, these seven words [of the first Torah sentence], as we know, have twenty-eight letters. King Solomon, in Sefer Kohelet. . .points out the twenty-eight primary times in a person's life - including, as popularized in a song years ago, a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to kill, and a time to heal, a time for war, and a time for peace.
Our sages followed the seven and twenty-eight pattern repeatedly throughout our literature. The author of the Haggadah began with "Ha Lachma Anya - This is the bread of affliction." That sentence contains twenty-eight words.
Our sages began Pirkei Avot, Sayings of Our Fathers, which is the Tractate from the Talmud that focuses on ethical behavior with, "Moshe received the Torah from Sinai." There are twenty-eight words in the first section.
From this our sages added in the Kaddish, the prayer we say which contains Amen, a total of…. Twenty-eight words, from “yehe shma raba” until “dameron balma.” "Yhe Shami Rabbah Mbarach L'olam Olmei Olmaya" has seven words AND TWENTY-EIGHT LETTERS.
Chesed, Gevurah, etc – the seven midos - have seven words, AND TWENTY-EIGHT LETTERS!!!
Twenty-eight is also the sum of one plus two plus three plus four plus five plus six...plus seven.
Shabbos then, as the last piece of the weekly cycle of creation, shows us that the number and idea of twenty-eight represents the culmination of pulling together the aspects of this world, as represented from HaShem's handiwork in many groups of seven, one step at a time.
There is another aspect to 28 that is rather interesting. Our sages have told us that the sun appears in the same position as it was at the time of creation – described in this week’s Parsha – every 28 years!
Of course, 2 and 8, of 28, equals 10, which reduces to 1! Therefore, if adding one through seven leads to twenty–eight, what is the ultimate expression of this 28 extension from seven?
Twenty-eight is the value of the Hebrew word for strength, which is Koach, which also means potential! HaShem creates, and continues to create, not only what is done, but what is our potential. No greater Koach/power exists, than in the combination of man and woman, which is also described in Parshas Bereishis. The words Kallah and Chassan, Wife and Husband, begin with the letters forming the word Koach.
How does the word Amen relate to all this?
Amen also represents 28.
The word Amen is made up of the first letter in the Aleph Bet – Aleph – plus the thirteenth letter – Mem - and the fourteenth letter- Nun. One plus thirteen plus fourteen equals...twenty-eight. The positional Gematria of Amen is 28!
What do we get from saying Amen properly? Our sages discuss the tremendous rewards for its hearty response. The Talmud in Tractate Brachot, Daf 119, says that, "Greater is the one who responds Amen than the one who recites the blessing!"
The Talmud in Tractate Shabbos says that, "Whoever answers Amen with all his strength, the gates to Gan Eden are opened for him!" The Talmud in Sanhedrin, Daf 110, says that, " From when can a child be worthy of Olam Haba - the world to come - from when he answers Amen!!"
The Tikunnei Zohar, one of the deepest Kabbalistic texts, analyzes the 720 – which is 10 times Chesed - ways that the 6 letters in the word Bereishis can be re-arranged, says an amazing thing: "One who responds Amen with all his strength has his negative decrees from seventy years previously obliterated!!"
The Gemara in Eruvin, Daf 64B, points out a verse from King Shlomo’s Proverbs that mystically ties in to the power of Amen. That verse, Proverbs 12:18, says that there is someone whose speech damages like the piercing of a sword: but the language of wise men heal. Lashon Chachamim Mrapeh. Literally, this means, “The language of wise men heals.” The last letters of these three words spell AMEN!!
There is a book recently published on the power of Amen that is highly recommended. The word Amen derives from the word Emunah, which means faith or belief. We are asked in this life of uncertainty, as we sit in the Sukkah of uncertain strength, known as the shadow of Faith, to believe in HaShem, and to have Bitachon, trust in HaShem based on that faith.
chanoch reminds students of Kabbalah that the highest level is Vaday - Certainty.
Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, Shlita, says that the word human derives from Emunah. It, too, is a representation of the seven words and 28 letters at the beginning of the Torah. Shabbos is called "Meyain Olam Haba, a glimpse of the world to come." The last letters of Meyain Olam Haba also spell Amen!!
The last letter in the alephbet is a Tav. Our sages tell us that it represents eternity. Shabbos is literally Shav Tav, return to Eternity. We get a glimpse of eternity, of Tav, on Shabbos. Therefore, it is no surprise that the letter Tav spelled out - Tav (400) and Vav (6)- equals 406, that just happens to be one plus two plus three plus... up to ...twenty-eight!
Twenty-eight then, represents the power of creation, the power of seven, the power of Matan Torah, and the power of Amen Kavanot after lighting the lamps.
"Yasher Koach"--"May your strength be firm" is the secret of 28. For the letters Kaf Cheit which stand for 28 form the word Koach or strength. This strength comes from the work we have recently done from accessing the inner voice on 25, the Shechinah, to opening up in sweet surrender to the luminous lovelight of 26, and to create a pure heart inside ourselves on 27. This work gives us Koah/strength of 28. But this is not physical strength. Rather it gives us higher consciousness, for this Koach is the Koach of Mah/the power of what, the words Koach Mah having the same letters of Chochmah/wisdom.
So too, is the hint that reversing the letters in Koach gives us Haik/palate, corresponding mystically to Chochmah/wisdom. With the Koach/28-the power of both hands (YaD and 14 joints on each) we can access the higher wisdom to master any occasion we may face, whether it be a "time be born, a time to die, a time to plant, a time to uproot..." all 28 times mentioned by Kohelet Chapter 3. We must acknowledge that this strength comes from HaShem, as we do on the blessing upon hearing thunder- "SheKocho uGvurato Malay Olam / "His Strength and power fill the universe."
On Chanukah our task is to gaze at the candles and contemplate that the entire creation is from HaShem, since אֵין עוֹד, מִלְּבַדּוֹ nothing exists but Him. As we gaze at the 4 candles on this 4th Night of Chanukah, we intend the first 28 letters of the Torah, that first sentence of 7 words:
בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ
In the beginning--created G-d--the heavens--and the earth
Beresheet---Bara Elokim--et HaShamayim--v'et Ha'Aretz
These 28 letters are the Koach (28) Mah, the power of "what," standing for the Chochmah/Wisdom we wish to acquire from our gazing. Internalize that a Targum/Aramaic Translation of the Torah, says בחכמה ברא "B'Chochmah/with Wisdom," G-d created the heavens and the earth.
Recognize that "Reisheet Chochmah Yirat HaShem, The beginning of wisdom is the awe of HaShem," that He alone is our Creator, and we are in His presence every second!
(1) Moving from right to left, intend over the first candle on the right, the word בְּרֵאשִׁית and intend that this stands for Chochmah/Wisdom, the Koach  Mah, the power to get your "What?" questions answered;
(2) On the second candle, the next one to its left, intend that the words בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים of the first verse in the Torah - relate to Binah/Understanding, connected to the World of Beriah/Creation, and the Mothering power [praised above] to generate everything in our world;
(3) On the third candle, the next one to its left, intend that the words אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם relate to Tiferet/Beauty, the giving force in our cosmic system, the flow of new mentalities to imbue us with Torah and Truth; and
(4) On the fourth candle, intend וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ relate to Malchut/Receiving, the grounding of these ideas into action of good deeds and fulfilment of G-d's Will.
Recognize that these 4 candles also connect us to HaShem's Great Name of 4 letters [Yod and Hey and Vav and Hey] as such: י ה ו ה
Enthusiastic handshakes accompanied by the Hebrew greeting, "Yasher Koach" is the standard expression of congratulations for those who have had the merit of participating in the public worship of the synagogue, especially the reading of the Torah. The words "Yasher koach" translate literally as, "May your strength be firm." A benediction of this sort is always timely, but it is a curious one to be introducing on these particular occasions. Are we really concerned that an individual's powers will have been significantly drained after having mounted the lectern and mouthed some blessings?
The origins of this practice are linked to those of a similar blessing that is recited on rarer occasions; i.e., the congregational declaration, "Chazak Chazak venit-chazek" that follows the conclusion of each of the five books of the Pentateuch. The meaning of that Hebrew phrase is analogous to that of "Yasher koach/ Strong, strong, and let us be strengthened!"
From various descriptions of synagogue customs from the medieval period, we learn that the original practice was to wish each participant in the Torah reading Chazak Chazak upon the conclusion of his aliyah. The reason for this, it appears, was a practical one. According to the ancient procedure, the Torah had to be read while it was standing upright and its text visible to the congregation. The reader therefore had to physically support it by taking hold of its posts. Sephardic Torah scrolls are normally housed in as special box that can stand safely on the reading table, but to keep an Ashkenazic-style sefer Torah straight and not allow it to fall demanded some serious exertion.
It is therefore understandable that bystanders would do their best to encourage the reader to maintain the requisite vigor. As often occurs in the evolution of religious customs, certain routines stubbornly persist even after their original reasons have ceased to be applicable.
Though the Torah is now allowed to lie horizontally on the lectern, we still insist that the reader "support" it by symbolically grasping its wooden posts, and the people next to him continue to pray that the reader's strength will suffice for the task.
Thus we have found ways to preserve the remnants of two different customs: The saying of Chazak has been relegated to the ceremonious conclusions of entire books, possibly owing to a misunderstanding of an old instruction that it be recited when one finishes reading the Torah. Yasher koach, on the other hand, has been adopted as the informal congratulatory formula for the normal aliyah.
The customs we are describing date back to Talmudic times, and are attributed there to the heroes of the Bible. When G-d exhorted Joshua to take over Moses' mantle of leadership, he instructed him with- "This book of the Torah shall not depart out of thy mouth... be strong and of a good courage." Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai deduced that the wording "this book" implies that Joshua was actually holding a Torah scroll at the time. The Rabbis discerned in this episode a precedent for saying Chazak to anyone who is grasping a Torah.
Similarly, when Moses declared, "Cursed be the one who does not uphold all the words of this Torah," the Talmudic Rabbis understood this as alluding to the obligation to offer verbal support to the person who is holding up a Torah scroll.
Indeed the fear of inadvertently dropping a sacred scroll was not the only fear that troubled participants in the synagogue services. Midrashic tradition speaks of the grave perils that were felt to threaten a person--whether from a hostile Satan or from the person's own carelessness--when he accepted the momentous responsibility of praying on behalf of the congregation.
An interesting twist on this theme is contained in a midrashic interpretation quoted by Rashi in his very last comment to the end of the Book of Deuteronomy. When G-d (in Deut. 10:2) spoke to Moses about "the first tablets which [Hebrew: asher] you broke," the Rabbis read this as if G-d were saying to Moses, "Yasher koach for breaking the tablets" in reaction to the people's worship of the Golden Calf.
This midrash takes on a powerful poignancy when we bear in mind that the normal meaning of Yasher koach is. "May you have strength not to cause the Torah to fall." In this midrashic exposition, the usage is ironically reversed, as G-d reassures Moses saying: "You have done the right thing in showing the strength and courage to hurl the Torah before a people that has proven itself unworthy of it."
At any rate, we hope for the strength to uphold both the scroll and its contents!
We learn from this midrash that we need to have the strength to do what is "right" in our eyes even when it goes against the Halacha as interpreted by others. What is the correct action to do? What you know to be right - righteous or righteousness.
To be added
Malchut of Nukva/Malchut of the month of Tif eret of Zeir Anpin/Tiferet [RaShaSh]
Receiving the quality of Sovereignty
It is specially related to the Cheshbon Chashmonai, given the similarity of letters in their roots:
ChaMiShi....ChaShMonai...Some give gelt/money as gifts to kids to further their Torah education on this day, because it will never fall on a Shabbat, when it would be inappropriate to handle money. This night is special because the majority of candles are now lit, and light overtakes darkness.
The Ben Ish Chai mentions the following 29s:
-the letters in Your Holy Names Y"H YHW"H AHY"H ADN'Y E"L ELoHI"M SH"Y TZBAO"T which are 29;
-the letters in your 7 Names for Shabbat elevation [YHW"H, YHW"H with the vowels of Elokim, MTzPTz, E'L, ELoHI'M, MTzPTz and Y"H ADN'Y] which are 29;
-the merit of Chizkiyahu Your servant who was King in Jerusalem for 29 years;
The latter, as it involves a Melech/king, the source of Malchut/Sovereignty, bears reiteration. King Chizkiyahu saw through prophecy saw that he would beget a wicked son Menasheh so he decided not to have children. The prophet Isaiah read the spiritual newspapers and said "Koh (25) Amar Hashem (26)/Thus said Hashem...you shall die, and you shall not live" (Yeshaya 38.1). He then invoked a solution which was of utmost simplicity: וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל, אֶליְהוָה; וַיַּסֵּב חִזְקִיָּהוּ פָּנָיו, אֶלהַקִּיר "He then turned his face to the wall and prayed to Hashem...and Chizkiyahu wept an intense weeping." (38:2).
This solution worked! And he got a second chance, and had 15 (Yod and Heh) years added to his life. He turned to Hashem when faced with dire news, broke his heart, and had his prayers answered.
It is the Wall, and praying in front of the Wall, to which we turn our attention and intentions
Kavanot after lighting the lamps
On this matter, the Zohar says [Chayye Sarah 132]
אֲמַר לֵיהּ הָא אוֹקִימְנָא דְּלָא יַפְסִיק בַּר נָשׁ בִּצְלוֹתֵיהּ, בֵּינֵיהּ לְבֵין כּוֹתְלָא, כְּמָה דִכְתִיב וַיַּסֵּב חִזְקִיָּהוּ פָּנָיו אֶל 'הַקִּיר וגו
The friends said that when a man prays nothing may come between him and the wall, as it is written, "Then Chizkiyahu turned his face toward the wall" (Yeshayah 38:2).
This means that nothing should interfere, or "come between" you and Hashem when you pray. Remove all distracting thoughts, and divest yourself of all physical matters. [Beshalach 44]
נַעֲשֶׂה נָא עֲלִיַּית קִיר קְטַנָּה וְנָשִׂים לוֹ שָׁם מִטָּה וְשֻׁלְחָן וְכִסֵּא וּמְנוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִלֵּין לָמָּה. אֶלָּא בְּגִין דְּאִינּוּן תִּקּוּנָא דִּכְנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, דְּאִתְקְרִיאַת עֲלִיַּית קִיר
"Let us make a small upper chamber, I pray you, with walls; and let us set for him there a bed and table, and a chair, and a lamp" . Why these four? Because they restore the כְנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל Congregation of Yisrael,[the Malchut] that is called an 'upper chamber with walls'. And so is it called, for it is written, "Then Chizkiyahu turned his face towards the wall" (Yeshayah 38:2).
Kinesset Yisrael כְנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל here hints to the Malchut, Sovereignty, the "upper chamber," the vessel that receives our prayers first. We lower our eyes to the ground, Mother Earth, the Malchut, and we raise our hearts heavenward to Malchut, the place where our prayers our first received. [Terumah 133]
וְהוֹאִיל וְכַךְ הוּא, נַעֲשֶׂה נָא עֲלִיַּת קִיר קְטַנָּה, דָּא אִיהוּ סִדּוּרָא דְּתִקּוּנָא דִּשְׁכִינְתָּא, דְּאִיהִי עֲלִיַּת קִיר, כד"א וַיַּסֵּב חִזְקִיָּהוּ פָּנָיו אֶל הַקִּיר
Since this is so, "let us make a little upper chamber," which is the order of the perfection of the Shechinah, who is "a little upper chamber...with walls," as it is written, "And Chizkiyahu turned his face toward the wall" (Yeshayah 38:2).
Our prayers first and foremost should be for the Shechinah, Hashem's Divine Presence, that Her apparent exile from Her Divine mate, should end soon. May we merit Her Revelation. [Shoftim 275]
מַאי קִירוֹת בֵּיתוֹ. אִינּוּן קִירוֹת לִבּוֹ. וַיַּסֵּב חִזְקִיָּהוּ פָּנָיו אֶל הַקִּיר, וְאוֹקְמוּהָ רַבָּנָן, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהִתְפַּלֵל חִזְקִיָּהוּ מִקִּירוֹת .לִבּוֹ
What are the walls of his house? They are the walls of his heart. "Then Chizkiyahu turned his face towards the wall" (Yeshayah 38:2). The sages of the Mishnah have explained this to teach us that Hezekiah was praying from the walls of his heart.
Where does the Shechinah, the Malchut, the wall rest? In our hearts.
What is prayer? The Gemara answers, the service of the heart. Our hearts, where Shechinah dwells inside us. We know that heartfelt prayer works. It did for Hezekiah. It did for Chanah mother of prophet Samuel, וַתִּתְפַּלֵּל חַנָּה who taught us how to pray.
Contemplate that the word קִּיר Kir, or wall, is gematria 310, standing for the 310 worlds that the tzaddik, the Master of Prayer, inherits. Intend as you stand before the lights, that the illumination of your heart opens a pathway of prayer that blazes a trail directly to the Source of light.
In front of the 5 candles we have lit for this 5th day, realize that besides Kir, another word for wall is Kotel, as in HaKotel HaMa'aravi, the Western Wall. כותל or wall can be parsed into 2 words כו & תל Ko and Tel. We know the Ko or Kaf Vav is gematria 26, which stands for the Name of יְהוָה Havaya. Tel is gematria 430, which is 5 times the Name אֱלֹהִים Elokim/G-d.
Intend that when we pray in the direction of the Kotel, we blend, do a yichud/unification of these 2 names, sweetening the severities of Elokim with the mercies of Havaya.
Now realize that Tel also is the gematria of the word נֶפֶשׁ Nefesh or soul. Contemplate that NeFeSh spelled Nun Peh Shin stands for the 3 aspects of the Chanukah lights:
Nun = NeR or lamp
Peh = Petilah or Wick
Shin = Shemen or oil
Look at each of the candles, and see that there is a soul connection, נֶפֶשׁ to each one.
Now see that the Shechinah dwells there, as She does at the Kotel, the Wall.
On each of the five candles, intend the Name Elokim from top to bottom like this.
Place the letters of Havaya, starting with the Kutz Shel Yod, the "thorn" at the top of the Yod, on top as such:
' יְ ה וָ ה
אֱ אֱ אֱ אֱ אֱ
לֹ לֹ לֹ לֹ לֹ
הִ הִ הִ הִ הִ
י י י י י
ם ם ם ם ם
You have made a KoTeL, a Wall, a place for Shechinah to dwell, in your soul, נֶפֶשׁ
Pray intently from the walls of your heart.
May your prayers be answered as were Chizkiyahu and Chanah!
To be added
Inner vessels of ChaGaT NaHY'M of Arik Anpin of the month of Netzach of Zeir Anpin/Tiferet [RaShaSh]
Reisha d’Arich (the elongated head), corresponding to the force of ratzon/will
יְהִי רָצון מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלהֵי אֲבותֵינוּ שֶׁיִּבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. וְתֵן חֶלְקֵנוּ בְּתורָתֶךָ: וְשָׁם נַעֲבָדְךָ בְּיִרְאָה כִּימֵי עולָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמונִיּות
May it be Your will, HaShem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt, speedily in our days, and grant us our share in Your Torah, and may we serve You there with reverence us in days of old and in former years.
Reisha d’Ayin (the head of nothingness), corresponding to the force of ta’anug;
The Ben Ish Chai notes the following 30s:
-the Holy Name Y'H with the filling YW"D H"H which totals 30;
-the Holy Name of the 72-Names of Gd YY"Y which totals 30;
-the Holiness of the Temple which King Shlomo built which stood 30 amot high;
-of the merit of Yosef the Tzaddik who left the dungeon to stand before Pharaoh when he was 30 years old;
--of the merit of David son of Yishai Your servant who ruled as king in Hevron when he was 30 years old;
-of the Name MTzP"Tz which totals 10 times 30 or 300;
-of the Yesod which joins the Sefirot together named HADARNiYe"L which totals 10 times 30.
Rabbi Ginsburgh writes on 30:
NUMBER Thirty Worlds:
Thirty days of the month. "Malchut" is acquired through thirty attributes. Thirty-shekel value of an adult woman. The menstrual cycle.
Souls: The thirty tzadikim in whose merit the world stands. Thirty generations from Abraham to the destruction of the First Temple.
Divinity: Thirty levels of Kingship. Thirty categories of tzadikim in the World to Come. When we count 30, we count the letter Lamed ל which stands for the number 30. Lamed literally means both to learn and to teach. So on this 30th day of Kislev, we need to re-learn the lessons of our past month--the Chodesh--to renew ourselves (LeChadesh).The Mishnah says, " A thirty-year old attains full Koach/strength"--which we learned is the secret of 28. We put that strength yesterday on day 29th in our prayer toward the Wall. Now at 30 Kislev, we can regroup and ponder where we are to fly, as Lamed /30 is revealed in the Zohar as "a tower soaring in the air." From this vantage point, we shrug off physical bounds to take spiritual accounting.
Meditations in front of candles - Hitbonenut/Contemplation - Building Through Study
We note that the Beit HaMikdash or Temple, which housed the Sacred Menorah, the reason why we light our Chanukiyot each night this Holiday, was 30 cubits tall. Also there were 30 generations from Avraham Avinu to the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. This hints to us that we should contemplate the Temple's holiness and its building soon in our days. Amen
The Rambam introduces every one of the fourteen books of the Mishnah Torah with a verse from the Prophets or the Sacred Writings. For Sefer Avodah, “The Book of Divine Service,” which contains a description of the Beit HaMikdash and the sacrifices offered there, he employs the verse: “Seek out the welfare of Jerusalem, those who love you shall prosper.”
Most of the other verses the Rambam chooses merely indicate a point of connection to the subject under discussion. The selection of this verse, by contrast, is intrinsically related to the purpose of studying the laws that follow. For it implies that there is an obligation to “Seek out the welfare of Jerusalem,” to concern oneself with the structure and functions of the Beit HaMikdash although we are, at present, incapable of actually building it.
Our Sages relate in Midrash Tanchuma, Tzav, Yechezkel replied to Him: “Master of the Earth, why are You telling me to go and tell Israel the form of the House... They are now in exile in the land of our enemies. Is there anything they can do (about it)? Let them be until they return from the exile. Then, I will go and inform them.”
G‑d answered: “Should the construction of My House be ignored because My children are in exile?”
G‑d declared: “The study of the Torah’s [design of the Beit HaMikdash] can be equated to its [actual] construction. Go; tell them to study the form of the Beit HaMikdash. As a reward for their study and their occupation with it, I will consider it as if they actually built the Beit HaMikdash.”
Implicit in the wording used in this passage is that the study of the laws of the Beit HaMikdash has ramifications that extend far beyond the ordinary sphere of intellectual activity. From the description of this study as “the building of My House,” we can infer that through such study, a person fulfills his obligation to build the Beit HaMikdash.
The study of the Torah's design of the Beit HaMikdash - the 3rd Temple from the Prophet Ezekiel utilizes the Hebrew Letters to cleanse and build the walls of our own personal heart and Beit HaMikdash as a place for HaShem to dwell within each one of us as the Torah teaches, in my opinion. Rabbi Chaim Luzotto wrote a book on this subject which is translated into English and is available on the Yeshshem website.
Lamed or 30 has the form ל of a wise man ascending to comprehend the wisdom of G-d. It is also learning in order to teach, learning in order to do, which we discuss below.
Our Sages teach us (Shabbat 23b) that one who fulfills this Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles properly will merit having children who are Torah scholars. They derived this from the verse (Mishlei 6), “For a Mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light” where Rashi explains that through a candle associated with a Mitzvah (i.e. Chanukah candles) the light of Torah emanates.
In front of our candles, we should intend that Torah emanates, and that this emanation should pass on to our children, both physical and spiritual [our students].
Look at the 6 candles lit on this six night of Chanukah.
Now reflect on the passage we say morning before Shema in Ahavat Olam/Eternal Love:
וְתֵן בְּלִבֵּנוּ בִינָה לְהָבִין. לְהַשְׂכִּיל. לִשְׁמועַ. לִלְמוד וּלְלַמֵּד. לִשְׁמור וְלַעֲשׂות וּלְקַיֵּם אֶת כָּל דִּבְרֵי תַלְמוּד תּורָתְךָ בְּאַהֲבָה. וְהָאֵר עֵינֵינוּ בְּתורָתֶךָ
"Instill in our hearts to understand and elucidate, to listen, to learn and to teach, to safeguard, to perform, and fulfill all the words of Your Torah's teachings with love. Enlighten our eyes in/with Your Torah."
Torah Or. וְתוֹרָה אוֹר The Torah is Light.
Place these 8 words, one over each candle from right to left.
לְהָבִין . לְהַשְׂכִּיל. לִשְׁמועַ . לִלְמוד וּלְלַמֵּד . לִשְׁמור וְלַעֲשׂות וּלְקַיֵּם
fulfill, perform, safeguard, teach, learn, listen, elucidate, understand
Note the past two days, Days 4 and 5 are liLmod uliLamed.
This means to learn and to teach, with root Lamed which stands for 30, as discussed above.
This learning of day 4 and 5 is great, but tonight we internalize the Lamed and need to figure out on Day 6, how can we safeguard the learning process, for ourselves, and for our children?
Draw the light of the 6th candle into yourself.
See the Light of the Torah as a protective force as the need for protection becomes great in the month of Tevet. Determine to use it to illuminate your way through the darkness of the confusions of contemporary life. Pledge to increase your learning, perhaps the building of the Temple, which stood at 30 cubits. May it be rebuilt, soon in our time! And may we all say AMEN.
To be added
Outer vessels of ChaGaT NaHY'M of Arik Anpin/Keter of the month of Netzach of Zeir Anpin/Tiferet [RaShaSh]
Reisha d’Ayin (the head of nothingness), corresponding to the force of ta’anug/pleasure
Today is the 1st day of Tevet, Rosh Chodesh Tevet II, the 7th Night of Chanukah.
Phrases from the famous song of Pesach.
Ehad Ani Yodea. Ehad Eloheinu, Sheba'shamayim Uva'arets.
"I know one; One is our G-d, in the Heaven and the earth."
The Ben Ish Chai notes the following Ones:
In the merit of Avraham, whom HaShem called "One" and who brought One ram as an offering;
In the merit of Yitzhak who was bound on One mountain;
In the merit of Yaakob who gave to Yosef One city of Shechem; chanoch adds: as a double portion to the first born.
In the merit of Moshe who was supported on his hands [during the battle with Amalek], One on this side, and One on that side;
In the merit of Aaron who wrote on the staff of Levi which was One staff;
In the merit of Yosef who knew that Pharaoh’s [two] dreams were One dream;
In the merit of David who divided the wealth of Israel in One day;
In the merit of the tribes of Kah [Psalm 122] who were the sons of One man;
In the merit of Elkanah the prophet who was called One man;
In the merit of Your people Israel who were like One nation;
In the merit of the Seraphim who had six wings that were like One wing together;
In the merit of the saying, "We will do and we will obey" in One voice;
In the merit of the words of the Sages that were given from One Shepherd;
In the merit of the mitzvah of the Choshen Mishpat that had One row at the top;
In the merit of the mitzvah of the Mishkan, which was One;
In the merit of the mitzvah of the daily offering which had One sheep;
In the merit of the mitzvah of a man and a woman clinging together like One flesh;
In the merit of saying, "Hear Israel, HaShem is our G-d, HaShem is One!, and that HaShem will be One and His Name One!
Rabbi Ginsburgh notes that Number One signifies: Worlds:
● First of all countable numbers.
● The beginning of process in nature and sequence of worldly events.
● One counts “something from something.”
Souls: ● “One nation in the land.”
● The organic unity of all Jewish souls.
● One counts “something from nothing.”
Divinity: ● “G-d is One”: the absolute unity of G-d.
● “There is none other besides Him:” “One, single, and unique.”
● One counts “nothing from something
Kavanot after lighting the lamps
One today stands for One G-d, the first commandment in the Torah: אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ I am HaShem, your G-d
The first day of Tevet is also the 7th day of Chanukah.
One stands for the unifying power of HaShem, the Name יְהוָה 7 stands for the Natural world, the name of אֱלֹהִים Elokim, the root of, אֱלֹהֶיךָ "your G-d." Much of the pleasure we derive from the physical world, on this day where we access the quality of ta'anug/pleasure [see above], whether it be through food, sex, sleep, etc., is just a manifestation of the concealed Holy sparks that are revealed through our tasting and feeling.
Gaze at the 7 lights, for this 7th Night of Chanukah: See these 7 Candles as representing the force of Nature in the 7 days of the week.
Contemplate that the word הטבע HaTeva, which means Nature, has the gematria of the G-d's Name Elokim. אֱלֹהִים. Now recognize that on this 1st day of Tevet, we also intend the One, the One G-d named HaShem. יְהוָה
Feel the pleasure of the 7 lights in front of you, and know that HaShem is G-d, HaShem Hu HaElokim [from the Yom Kippur Neilah conclusion]!
יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים
יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים
יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים
יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים
יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים
יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים
יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים
Meditation - Look at the candles.
Now meditate that today is the first day of Tevet. The Hebrew letter for Number One is Alef.
The Alef is formed by two Yuds, one to the upper right and the other to the lower left, joined by a diagonal Vav. These represent the higher and lower waters and the firmament between them, as taught by the Ari z”l. Yud is gematria 10, Vav is 6, 2 x 10 + 6 = 26. 26 is the gematria of HaShem's Name יְהוָה. HaShem's Name is concealed in the Alef, the Yud Vav Yud totalling 26, hinting to the Oneness of G-d.
This recalls the 2nd day of Chanukah, which was the 26th day of Kislev. Today is the second "day" of HaShem--a 26-- recalling the 13 attributes of Mercy, which begin with 2 mentions of HaShem:
יְהוָה יְהוָה, אֵל רַחוּם וְחַנּוּןאֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם, וְרַבחֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת וְנַקֵּה ; נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים, נֹשֵׂא עָו ןֹ וָפֶשַׁע וְחַטָּאָה
Say this verse to yourself quietly in Hebrew.
Adonai Yo Hey Wav Hey, Adonai Yo Hey Wav Hey, El Rachum v'Chanun, Erech, Apayim v'Rav Chesed v’Emet. Notzer Chesed l’Alaphim, Nosey Avon va'Fesha v'Khata'ah v'Nakey.
Chanukah is the time when we finish the work we did starting in Elul, through Rosh Hashanah, Yom HaKippurim, and Hoshana Rabbah, when this verse is repeated numerous times. Decide what personal spiritual work still needs to be done before Chanukah's last night, tomorrow.
Now over each candle, place the letter Alef, which stands for Number One.
א א א א א א א
7 times Alef = 7, this 7th day of Chanukah
Now, over each candle, place the Name of HaShem [derived from Alef as described above] as such
יְהוָה יְהוָה יְהוָה יְהוָה יְהוָה יְהוָה יְהוָה
Know that 7 times HaShem is equal to two times the word Amen.. אָמֵן !אָמֵן וְאָמֵן
One of the interesting laws concerning Hanukkah candles is that they must be placed no higher than approximately 35 feet off the ground so that they might be seen by passersby.
The core reason for candle lighting on Hanukah is pirsumei nisa/publicizing the miracle. The miracle, as the Rabbis understood it, was that one cruse of pure oil was found after the Temple had been defiled, and that cruse burned eight days until fresh pure oil could be made.
The possibility that purity can remain amongst the impurity of the world, that righteousness can stand even through the onslaught of injustice, that good can remain in a world that sometimes seems to be more and more evil—this is the miracle of Hanukah. The obligation then is to announce that miracle to the world. It must be seen in the streets. It is not enough to support justice loudly behind closed doors. One has to demonstrate justice and demonstrate for justice at street level. So it can be seen, and heard, and felt.
Currently, in America, there is a discussion regarding justice and responsibility having to do with free speech. One can not scream fire in a crowded theater as many know. Can someone express peaceful protest that causes someone unstable to act out violence. What is the responsibility of the society and the protesters for that action. This is also an idea dealing with justice and the Talmud does discuss this. This is about justice and Chanukah. What do you think?
Chesed/Kindness of Abba/Father of the month of Netzach/Endurance of Zeir Anpin/Tiferet [RaShaSh]
Today is the 2nd day of Tevet, the 8th Night of Chanukah, Zot Chanukah
The number two from the famous song from Pesach is the line below.
Sh'neayim Ani Yodea, Sh'nei Luhot Ha'Berit.
"I know 2, the two Tablets of the Covenant"
The Ben Ish Chai notes the following 2's:
-the Holy Name Yod and Hey which has 2 letters which created 2 worlds;
-the name Kel which has 2 letters;
-the letter Bet ב which created the Universe and which began the Torah and which numbers 2;
-the Tablets of the Covenant which were 2;
-The Holiness of the Ark which had each side 2 rings;
-the secret of the Kerubim which were 2;
-Rahel who gave birth with Ya'akov - 2 sons - 2 souls;
-the mitzvah of the continual offering which was brought twice daily;
-the mitzvah of the bread which was brought on Shabbat and were 2 loaves for most Shabbat Tables and Meals;
-the mitzvah of the Tefillin of the head and the hand which are 2 mitzvot;
the letter Yod י of HaShem's Great Name which totals 20 in gematria, and thereby 2 in mispar katan;
--the sake of the letters "Yaer HaShem Panav Elekha weYehunecha" which total 20, and thereby 2 in mispar katan;
--the sake of the Holy Name of 72 YHH which totals 20 or 2 in mispar katan;
-the sake of the secret of the Holy Kenafim/wings which total 200 or 2 in mispar katan;
-the ALF ALF which illuminate the Malchut and which total 222;
-the 3 names AKTD'M which are in Chesed, Gevurah and Malchut and which total 222;
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh in his The Hebrew Letters notes that two stands for: Worlds:
● The beginning of manifest plurality
● The dualistic nature of Creation
● Hierarchic complexity
Souls: ● The soul is described as "the second to the King."
● Joseph: the Prism effect--the revelation of mind.
● Mordechai: the Time effect--the revelation of heart.
Divinity: ● Divine power of Self to contain two opposites.
● Concealment of Divine essence and revelation of His light.
● Concealment and revelation of light to lower and higher states of consciousness.
● The Torah begins with a large Beit.
● The Name Havayah and the Name Elokim.
● "The two companions that never separate"
Rabbi Monk notes that 2 represents the concept of duality, for there is diversity in every part of Creation. (Maharzu) Devarim Rabbah 2:310 elaborates on the interaction of all pairs in creation:
Heaven gives light and rain; the earth receives it and produces its fruit. The moon reflects the light that is radiated by the sun. Adam and Eve were a pair not complete without the other. Everything earthly is embedded in plurality (Absolute Oneness exists only in the Divine).
The above paragraph is a corrupt teaching. The correct teaching which to my knowledge is only taught in my classes and Rabbi Ashlag's original essays is Absolute Oneness exists only with an appreciation for the diversity. In our world there are many species of the creation being lost and disappearing. No one is asking what is the spiritual reason behind this? The human organizations are asking who causes it since obviously i do not intend it to happen. This is the usual human reaction to point out and away from myself. In my opinion these loss of species is meant to teach an appreciation for the diversity of the Creation and for mankind to use this as a motivation to learn about DNA manipulation in its complete pattern. Mankind experiments in the physical and is moving towards a state where it can experiment within a computer simulation. This is my opinion. Please ask yourself the same question and find your own answer.
All created for man's use came in pairs: Torah (Written and Oral), the mitzvot (positive and negative), the intermediaries (Moshe and Aharon), the world (heaven and earth), the luminaries (sun and moon), and man (male and female). The commandments came in 2 tablets. There are 2 drives, Yetzer HaTov and Yetzer HaRa. There are 2 worlds, This World, and The World to Come.
Kavanot after lighting the lamps
Note the 8 Candles. See how in most Chanukah Menorahs, the Shamesh is in the middle, with there being 4 sets of 2s: one on each end, one closer, one closer, and one on each side of the Shamesh.
With two, we have the potential for conflict. Which is why 3 is the resolver.
Adam and Eve, Kayin and Hevel, Yitzhak and Yishmael, Esav and Yaakov, Yehudah and Yosef, Menashe and Ephraim, ....two's are pretty problematic until we get to Mosheh and Aharon. It needn't be that way. If I see the G-dly spark in you, and you in me, why should there be conflict? The gift of two prevents us from being alone, and opens us up to do real work in harmony.
May all of your terrible two's be resolved....chanoch adds: except your children's terrible twos.
One of the biggest problems with 2, is shown through our Second Commandment, יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלהִֹים אֲחֵרִים, עַלפָּנָי" You shall not have any other gods before Me."
This is the root Commandment against idolatry. Now, few of us bow to spiritual idols. Many of us, however, worship power, money, sensation, etc.
The Chush/energy of this new month of Tevet is anger. When we get angry, we worship ourselves: "I'm angry! Look what happened to ME! Look what she said to ME! Look who cut ME off in traffic!" Road rage, you name it.
When we get angry, it usually is not holy anger, and it can lead to self-worship, feeding our Ego, instead of surrendering to HaShem. This is the anger that is generated by the "Evil Eye." The "Evil Eye" does not acknowledge the good and the G-dly in people or in life circumstances. We need the power of the light of Chanukah, especially the light of this last day of Chanukah (Zot Chanukah) to help us rectify the "Evil Eye" and to reveal the good (Tov - Tevet) in whatever exists. This month is an auspicious time to work on our anger through seeing the good that is in others, as well as uncovering the good in life challenges. There can be fire and not anger.
This is the fire of passionate attachment, that of wick and oil to flame, in the candles burning in front of you.
The word Zot is spelled in Hebrew זות. These letters are one female and one male and one representing the completion. If you need to know which is which send me a question by email. A deep understanding of the word Tov or good is when the desires of the female is totally fulfilled by the male. This only happens at the end of the process where the correct light fulfulls the correct vessel. In simple terms the light of Keter is in the vessel of Keter and the Light of Malchut is in the Vessel of Malchut and all other lights is in the correct vessel.
Zot Chanukah is the 91st day of the year. We know as students of Kabbalah that 91 is the gematria of the 8 letter Name יאהדונהי which is the unification of the Name HaShem and the Name Adonai.
There is much more to learn from Zot Chanukah regarding the meaning of Good and Evil.
It is Zot Chanukah, the 8th and final night and day. Baby, it's cold and dark outside!
We need to shine the light, the 8 lights, to pave the way through the next 3 months of winter. On this day of 2,the 2nd day of Tevet, unlike the Capricorn we can choose to refuse to see duality.
Rather, we unite the Giver and Receiver. The Giver/Mashpia is the Name HaShem, יְהוָה standing for Tiferet or Zeir Anpin. The Receiver/Mekubel is the Name Adanut, אֲדֹנָי standing for Malchut or Nukvah. Their Names stand for the basic Kabbalistic unification of both energies into one: יאהדונהי
We sit in a chair, take a deep breath, and gaze into the 8 lights, and we contemplate that wherever there may seem to be duality, there really is only unity, One G-d.
And we see the 8 letters of this unification poised over the 8 candles:
י א ה ד ו נ ה י
We keep up this intention, taking the light deeply in, breathing in with one letter, breathing out with the next, going from right to left, then back to the beginning.
Take the light of Chesed, that of the 2nd day of the month, and spread the love light around. “The world is built with Chesed/love.” Before eating our last latke or sufganiyot or cheese of the season, try to linger in the lights for 30 minutes.
We pledge to take the personal lessons learned from these 8 Days of ChiNuK/education, of ChaNuKah/dedication into the rest of our year....
The deepest yet also the simplest truth of Hanukkah is that it is a holiday about a miracle. The real power of the miracle, however, is not that one cruse of pure oil was found after the Temple was defiled by occupying forces. Neither is the real power that that one cruse of oil burned for eight days when it should have burned for only one day. The real power is the story of the miracle itself.
In the earliest accounts of the Hanukkah story (the Books of Maccabees) and even in the earliest liturgy (the al hanisim prayer that is still recited today) the focus is on a military victory. The Rabbis refocus the holiday to celebrate a miracle of light. This is the powerful story. A narrative of uncontrolled violence—which is what every armed conflict becomes—is replaced by a vision of light.
Tonight as we shine the full power of the Hanukah lights into the public domain, let us draw from that miracle and proclaim that violence only ever begets violence and darkness. Only light begets more light. This is our charge. This is our time.
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