Constriction and Revelation by Rav Meir Elkabas

Constriction and Revelation of the Chanukah Lights
by Rav Meir Elkabas

Rebbe Nachman teaches (Likutey Moharan lesson 49) that initially, when a person begins his pursuit in serving Hashem, he experiences an intense light containing within it a special feeling of closeness and oneness with Hashem.

The Chanukah lights too serve to relay this scenario.
We light candles in the darkness - the dark winter nights of Kislev/Tevet and after nightfall - showing that this holy light - the light of the Torah, the Holy Temple, the Infinite Light etc. - is specifically "revealed" from within the darkness/constriction.

The Greeks came to blot out and wipe away this light by forcing us into the darkness with their evil decrees, with the intent that we think and see only negative. However, the Chashmonaim, with their good thoughts of hope and holiness, were able to push away the influence of the Greeks, thus revealing the light of the Holy Temple - the source of all pure and good thoughts - for the entire Jewish nation.

The impact of revealing light from such a dark situation is so powerful that the experience of connecting to this light has lasted until today, over 2,000 years later. The benefit of this light - the Chanukah light - is that it helps enable every Jew to think positive thoughts in his personal struggle through the darkness/constriction that he goes through in life - on condition that he wants to connect to it.

Thus we light the Chanukah candles in a progressive manner, advancing step-by-step. This indicates the step-by-step advancement of revealing Hashem's Kingship and Authority through good deeds due to the measured amount and revelation of this light from within the darkness/constriction.

There must also be a separation between each candle (i.e. you are not allowed to light the candles together in a single container), indicating also that the light of the Chanukah menorah must be revealed step-by-step between separations of darkness/constriction. 

We also light 8 candles. The number 8 is synonymous with the Sefirah of Binah, which corresponds to the heart. The heart is the seat of one's thoughts (as opposed to the brain), since it is one's emotions and deductive understanding (both located in the heart) which give "shape" to one's thoughts. The heart/Binah thus determines if you think positively or negatively through the dark constrictions of life.

We also light the Shamash along with the 8 candles. Shamash - etymologically similar to Shemesh, the sun - represents the Tzaddikim who "shine", enable, teach us and guide us how to think positive throughout life. Like the Chashmonaim who fought our battle and re-instituted the light and holiness of the Holy Temple through the Holy Menorah, the Tzaddikim of every generation, through their Torah teachings and holy merit, re-instill into the Jewish Nation the ability to "create" new horizons of revealing Hashem's Kingship and Authority in the world, until finally the Third Temple will be built and called a "House of Prayer" to all of the nations and by extension to the entire universe.

May we see this very soon in our days, Amen.

An en"lightening" Chanukah experience to you all.

reprinted with permission of
Meir Elkabas
The BRI, Jerusalem
Breslov Research Institute

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