13 Sivan 5779 / Sunday, June 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Shelach Lecho
 
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Since the holiness of the Chanuka candles is so great and the Divine Presence is so prominent in their light, sitting by the Chanuka candles is like sitting in Hashem's arms...

 



Halacha requires us to use Chanuka candles large enough, or to use sufficient oil, so that the candles can burn for at least 30 minutes after nightfall. It is also customary to sit by the Chanuka candles during this duration. At this time, many families sing Chanuka songs and songs of praise to Hashem, play the dreydel and tell Chanuka stories.
 
What is behind the custom of sitting by the Chanuka candles, rather than "lighting and running"?
 
The Chanuka candles are a vehicle for pirsuma d'nisa, publicising the miracle. Putting the Chanuka Menorah in your living-room window on in the entrance to your home is a special embellishment of the mitzva, for as more people can see it, the publicity is greater, and the greater the sanctification of Hashem's Name. Hashem is everywhere, but the Divine Presence is especially strong in a place of holiness and of the sanctification of Hashem's Name. The Chanuka candles have both virtues. They are so holy that many people immerse in the mikva before lighting them.
 
Since the holiness of the Chanuka candles is so great and the Divine Presence is so prominent, sitting by the Chanuka candles is like sitting in Hashem's arms. Many great tzaddikim quivered like leaves in the wind in the presence of the Chanuka candles, for they could literally feel that Hashem is right there with them.
 
The Prophet Isaiah says that all the Jewish People are tzaddikim. Chanuka is therefore our chance to cling to Hashem and to feel His presence.
 
Here's proof, according to Kabbala:
 
When we calculate the total number of candles that we light on the eight days of Chanuka, we add up 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+8 shamash candles, which equals a total of 44. What's so special about the number 44? Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev in the name of the Ariza'l explains that 44 is the numerical of the holy Name  E'hye – aleph, hey, yud, hey – in progression, as follows: aleph (1) – aleph hey (1+5=6) – aleph hey yud (1+5+10=16) – aleph hey yud hey 1+5+10+5=21); the entire progression adds up like this: 1+6+16+21=44!
 
The Chanuka candles are therefore deeply connected with Hashem's holy Name E'hye, the holy Name that Hashem used when He blessed Moses and Joshua respectively, promising each of them that He would be with them. The Name E'hye therefore alludes to the ultimate objective of reaching the level where we merit clinging to Hashem and deserving that Hashem is always with us. This is the level that Mattatyahu the High Priest and his sons the Maccabees attained. That's how they were able to merit such miracles, as we remind ourselves in the Al HaNisim prayer that we say all during Chanuka, and thank Hashem for delivering , "the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah." The more we express our gratitude by the Chanuka candles, the stronger we invoke the Divine Presence and fill our homes with the holy Name of the Divine Presence, E'hye – aleph, hey, yud, hey.
 
If you can imagine walking into a room where perfect 2-carat diamonds are strewn all over the floor, and all you have to do is bend down and pick them up to become rich,that's what sitting by the holy Chanuka candles is on a spiritual level. Simply absorb the Divine Presence, rejoice with Hashem and enjoy some of the highest-quality family time of the whole year. Happy Chanuka!
 
 
* * *
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