Thursday, December 17, 2009

PARSHA - Mikeitz - Chanukah - Moshiach!

Everything is connected to Moshiach and the Redemption. In fact, the Rebbe states clearly that it is natural for a person who is involved every day in yearning for the coming of Moshiach to look for a connection to Moshiach's coming in every event he encounters.

Since we are now in the days of Chanuka it is appropriate to look at the Festival of Lights with "Moshiach eyes." The Chanuka miracle took place in the Holy Temple, its celebration arouses a greater yearning for the time when the Menora will be kindled again in the Third Holy Temple.

Similarly, there is a connection between the above and this week's Torah portion, Mikeitz. When we hear the name Mikeitz - because we are constantly yearning for Moshiach's coming - we immediately associate it with the word "keitz" (meaning, "the end") which refers to the time for Moshiach's coming.

Also on Shabbat, when the Haftorah will be read and we will hear the vision for the Menora mentioned, we once again immediately associate it with the Menora of the Holy Temple.

So when we light the Menora let us envision ourselves watching the lighting of the rededicated Menora in the Third and Eternal Holy Temple. And as The Baal Shem Tov taught, "In the place where a person wants to be, that is where he will be found." May we all be found together in the Holy Temple this Chanuka!

Candle lighting time for L.A. is 4:28pm

This Friday night we light all eight candles for Chanuka! We light the menorah before lighting the Shabbat candles. (The Friday night Chanukah candles must burn for at least 1½ hours—so you may need more oil or larger candles.)

Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach!

Chabad of Downtown East

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chanuka -The significance of Eight

Seven symbolizes the Natural order, for G-d created the world in six days and rested on the seventh; Shabbos. Eight, symbolizes the Super-natural. The Human intelligence is limited to the Natural order; anything which is above and beyond Nature is also above and beyond human understanding. G-d, is obviously over and above Nature. We therefore cannot understand G-d, or his ways.

The Torah and Mitzvoth, which contain G-d's wisdom and will, are also beyond our understanding, but the more Torah we learn and the more Mitzvoth we observe, the more we become attached to G-d.. By being attached to G-d, we are no longer limited to our OWN human resources, but are now able to draw from the unlimited of G-d's wisdom.

At the time of Chanukah, the Jewish people were challenged to this view and way of life. The Greek philosophers believed that there was nothing higher than the human intelligence. They did not believe in the true G-d, the Creator, because they did not understand G-d, and according to them, anything that could not be understood was not to be believed.

King Antiochus wanted to force the Jews to give up the Mitzvoth which seemed "unreasonable" to him. Like the Mitzvah of the Bris which is done on the eighth day. Antiochus had vast armies, ready to put to death any Jew who disobeyed his orders, which now put the whole future of the Jewish people in great danger. Fortunately, a handful of Jews, led by Mattisyohu and his sons, openly resisted Antiochus. They kindled the flame of true faith in G-d, and with G-d's help they were victorious for they would not compromise with the enemy.

The eight Chanukah lights, reminds us that the true approach to Torah and Mitzvoth is not through the limited human intelligence, but rather through the actual fulfillment of the Mitzvoth first and foremost.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chanuka - Our home a Beis hamikdosh

Today Monday is the third day of Chanuka. Tonite we light the 4 candles.

As we light the Chanuka candles we commemorate the Jewish victory over the Greeks and the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days. The miracle of Chanuka occurred in the holiest place on earth: in the Holy Land, in Jerusalem, in the Holy Temple where G-d's Presence was revealed.

The miracle of the oil involved the menora, which in the times of the Temple was lit specifically by a kohen, a priest. Nowadays, however, the mitzva of lighting the menora is no longer expressly connected to the Temple, and everyone, even a small child, may do so. We light the menora in our homes, facing outward so that its light can illuminate our surroundings.

G-d has given us a truly an amazing capability. Everyone, not only a kohen, can transform his home into a Holy Temple by lighting a Chanuka menora! By kindling the menora's lamps, we suffuse our surroundings in exile with holiness and purity. Furthermore, the menora's light accompanies us throughout the year, until the following Chanuka, when we can observe the mitzva anew.

We thank G-d for enabling us to turn our own private homes into a Holy Temple. And when we transform our home into a Temple, G-d does everything - even performs miracles, if necessary - in order to enable us to continue bringing light into our personal life and to the world at large.

Happy Chanuka!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chanuka - Eternal Messages

Happy Chanuka, today is the second day of Chanuka and tonight we light 3 candles.

The eternal lights of Chanuka have eternal messages for us:

Number one - The candles are kindled when the sun sets. When darkness falls outside it is then time to light up our homes with the holy Chanuka lights, symbolizing the eternal lights of Torah and Mitzvot. and to provide inspiration and illumination in our daily lives.

Number two - The location - that they be visible also outside further indicates that the Torah and Mitzvot not be confined within the walls of the home, but must shine forth also outside.
To eliminate the darkness -- to rid the world of ignorance, negativity, hatred and greed -- and to kindle the lights of knowledge, generosity, hope and love.

A third important lesson is that however satisfactory the observance of Torah and Mitzvot may be on one day, a Jew is expected to do better the next day, and still better the day after. There is always room for improvement in the matters of goodness and holiness, which are infinite..
To fulfill the Mitzva of candle-lighting on the first night of Chanuka is to light one candle, yet the next night of Chanuka it is required to light two candles, and when another day passes even the higher standard of the previous day is no longer adequate, and an additional light is called for, and so on, to increase the light from day to day.

With every added flame, we go from strength to strength in deepening our commitment to the values and traditions of our Jewish way of life.