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  • Yehuda Pevzner

Festival of Light

Chanuka, the Festival of Light, began on the 25th day of Kislev. 

The 25th word of the Torah is "ohr" -- light, for, on the first day of creation, G-d said, "Let there be light, and there was light."

Judaism teaches that nothing is random: everything is part of the Divine Plan. Thus, it is no coincidence that Chanuka, which begins on the 25th of Kislev, revolves around light and that the 25th word of the Torah is light. In addition, just as G-d's act of creation began with "Let there be light," the main mitzva of Chanuka is to light candles.

Exactly what kind of light was it that G-d created on the first day? The sun, moon, and stars were not created until the fourth day of creation; the light created on the first day was a spiritual light.

The Midrash explains that the light of the first day allowed Adam to see from one end of the universe to the other. But upon Adam and Eve's sin, G-d chose to conceal this light in order to prevent its misuse and to unveil it in the future, in the times of the Redemption.

Physical light enables us to see our surroundings, the outer shell of everything that exists. Spiritual light, however, enables us to uncover the inner beauty and divinity existing at the core of every being or object created.

Jewish mysticism explains that each time one performs a commandment, in addition to establishing and strengthening the connection to the "Commander," one also brings spiritual light into the world. The special mitzvot involving physical light -- such as lighting Shabbat candles and Chanuka candles -- actually bring an even greater spiritual light into the world as well.

Tonight is the last night of Chanukah, the night when the Menorah is completely lit up, the night with the most light! When we kindle the Chanuka lights today,  we are availing ourselves of a stronger potential to unveil and actually see the Divine spark within every person and all of creation.

Thus, Chanuka is a prelude to and foretaste of the Messianic Era, when the Divine core of everything will be revealed.

Wishing you a Happy Chanukah and Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat Candle lighting time is on Friday at 4:11 PM.


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