05 December 2012

"Allusions to Hanukah from the Torah"

21 Kislev 5773

It's time to think about Hanukah!

Here is something interesting that I found in Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov's Book of Our Heritage on the month of Kislev:

In parashas Emor, the Torah recounts all of the special days of the year: Shabbos, Pesach, Shavuos, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkos. This account is immediately followed by the commandment to maintain an eternal light in the Sanctuary. Why are the two subjects juxtaposed? It would seem that Scripture is alluding to a future time when the lighting of the eternal light will also be celebrated in an annual festival after Sukkos.

A similar allusion to the establishment of the festival of Chanukah can be drawn from the juxtaposition of the Torah portion which describes the offerings brought by the nesi'im when the Tabernacle was consecrated [parashas Naso] and the portion regarding the obligation to light the Menorah [parashas Beha'alos'cha].

The Ramban, in his commentary to the latter parashah, writes:

In the Megillas Setarim of Rabbenu Nissim, I found the following statement. I saw in the Midrash that when the twelve tribes had each brought their offerings for the consecration of the altar and the tribe of Levi had not been included, God said to Moshe: Speak to Aharon and tell him that one day there will be another chanukah [consecration] which will be accompanied by the lighting of lights. And I will bring it about through your sons - miracles, salvation, and dedication which will be known by their name, the Chanukah of the House of Hasmoneans!

This is the reason why the account of lighting the Menorah is found next to the account of the offerings of the tribes.

I further saw, in the Midrash Yelamdenu [Tanchuma] and in the Midrash Rabbah as well: God said to Moshe: Go and tell Aharon: Have no fear. You are destined for something greater than this [i.e., the offerings brought by the nesi'im]. Sacrifices are brought only as long as the Beis ha-Mikdash stands, but the lights shall be lit forever. And all the blessings which I have given you, so that you might bless My children, shall never be nullified.

But is it not true that when the Beis ha-Mikdash does not stand and the sacrifices have ceased because of the destruction, that the Menorah has also ceased to be lit? Rather, the Sages were alluding to the lights of the Hasmonean Chanukah, which are lit even after the destruction.
Still other allusions to Chanukah in the Torah include:

When counting from the word Breishis [the first word in the Torah], the twenty-fifth word is or - light - an allusion to the light of Chanukah which is lit on the twenty-fifth day.

When counting the encampments of the Children of Israel in the desert [where they rested from their journey], the twenty-fifth encampment was in Chashmonah - an allusion to the Chashmona'im [Hasmoneans] who [also] rested on the twenty-fifth day.

In the merit of the learning of this Torah about Hanukah and in the merit of our ancestors who let nothing stand in the way of their moral duty to G-d and to their people and in the merit of the light which Jews spread at this season throughout the world, may Yehonatan HaLevi ben Malka receive a refuah shleimah and an immediate release from prison. Please G-d!  (Update on his condition.)

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