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What’s the kabbalistic deal on the Menorah?

by Rabbi Herschel Finman

  

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The Chanukah Menorah is identified with the Divine revelation which will be experienced during the era of the Moshiach. The eight lights represent eight expressions of the Divine name of G-d as enumerated in the book of Samuel.1 This level eight supersedes nature and combats the forces of evil.

Seven is a natural number. There are seven days of the week, seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot, seven years in a sabbatical cycle, and seven sabbatical cycles in a jubilee cycle. The length of time here on earth will be seven millennia. Eight indicates a Divine light which is higher than nature. By lighting the Chanukah menorah we draw down an overpowering revelation of G-d which cancels the effects of the forces of evil.

The Greeks did not want to kill the Jews. They wanted the Jews to give up the notion of Holiness
It is for this reason that the Chanukah menorah is placed on the left side of the door opposite the Mezuzah facing out to the reshut harabim (public domain). The left side corresponds to divine severities. These severities are the source of the forces of evil (even evil is created by G-d).2 The reshut harabim, literally meaning the area of the many, represents the many levels of the forces of evil. We direct the light from the reshut hayachid, literally the “domain of one” or private area – an expression of the one level of divine holiness, to nullify the forces of evil – shining them up, so to speak, so that the many is transformed into the one.

The Greeks did not want to kill the Jews. They wanted the Jews to give up the notion of Holiness. The oil in the Temple was not poured out, nor was it defiled by some gross act. The Greeks merely destroyed the seals on the bottles, destroying their presumed holiness. The holiday of Chanukah shows that the Jews were not defeated spiritually but grew and became stronger.

Footnotes

  • 1. G-d's name is mentioned eight times in I Samuel chapter 2.
  • 2. See http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/238,140561/Did-G-d-create-evil.html

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Torah » Kabbalah » Kabbalistic Concepts

Moshiach
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
Mezuzah
A rolled up scroll containing certain verses from the Torah which is affixed to the right-hand doorpost of doorways in a Jewish home.
Shavuot
Early summer festival marking the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai in the year 2448 (1312 BCE).
Menorah
Candelabra. Usually a reference to the nine-branched candelabra kindled on the holiday of Chanukah.
Samuel
1. A prophet and judge who appointed Saul as the first king of Israel in the 9th century BCE. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, named after the abovementioned Samuel, one of the main characters of the book.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.