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Mystical Chanukah Insight

By Chaim Clorfene

You probably think that there is no connection between Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Chanukah. The Kabbalists say otherwise.

On Rosh Hashanah our judgment for the year is written in the Book of Life (or G-d forbid in the other book). On Yom Kippur the judgment is sealed. Tradition tells us that the sealed judgment can be re-opened and improved through our good deeds (tshuvah - getting closer to G-d) until Hoshana Rabba, the last day of Sukkot, which comes eleven days after Yom Kippur. On Hoshana Rabba, Jews march around the bimah (the table on which the Torah is read) seven time with the lulov and etrog, and pray for salvation in all matters of physical and spiritual life. Most people think that this is the end of changing any heavenly decree from Rosh Hashanah. Chassidim say that Hoshana Rabba is not the end of our chance for an improved judgment. The period extends all the way to Chanukah.
An explanation of this can be understood according to Kabbala as taught by Rabbi Chaim of Kosov, who lived in the end of the eighteenth century. He teaches that each month receives it life force from a different permutation of G-d's Ineffable Four Lettered name, which we call simply, HaShem (meaning: The Name). This means that there are twelve different possible arrangements of the four lettered name, each month receives it's heavenly influence from a specific combination of the letters.

The month of Kislev, which is the month in which Chanukah falls, has the permutation of the Divine Name as follows: Vav-Yud-Hay-Hay, and it emanate from the verse (Genesis 50:11) Vayera Yoshev Haaretz HaCanaani, ("And thus saw the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land..."). This verse relates to mourning over the death of Jacob and the great multitude of his descendants and Egyptian noblemen who came to bury him in the Cave of the Machpelah in Hebron. We see, therefore, that there is a connection between the death of Jacob and the month of Kislev as well as the Festival of Lights, Chanukah, for its life-force is derived from HaShem's Name as found n this verse relating to the death of the Patriarch Jacob.

Now it is taught in the Holy writings that Jacob died on the first day of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, and that the Egyptians wept for him seventy days (Genesis 50:3), since he had brought great blessings to their land, and with his arrival a terrible famine ceased. If you count seventy days from the first day of Sukkot, it falls on the 25th day of Kislev, the first day of Chanukah!!!

These seventy days represent Jacob's having rectified the seven days of Creation, including the rectification of the sin of the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. This is why all the Children of Israel, the chosen of G-d, including Moses, King David and the Messiah, all come out of Jacob. The source of the Seven Days of Creation, according to the Kabbala are the Seven Cosmic Sephirot, (the Seven Divine Emanations) by which HaShem reveals Himself in the world, which corresponds to the powers of the soul. Man was created in the image of G-d.

With the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, the Sephirot were shattered, causing a cosmic egoism (or separation from the G-dly). Abraham began the rectification. Isaac continued it. Jacob completed it. This is the significance of the Egyptians mourning him for seventy days. Each of the Seven Days of Creation are comprised of the total Ten Sephirot (7 days x 10 Sephirot = 70) including the emanation of Chochmah (wisdom), which is symbolized by the oil of the light of Chanukah.

By binding oneself to the wisdom of the Torah, as Jacob (the consummate scholar) did, one can transform physical matter to spiritual form. The pure oil into light. This was the spiritual quest and accomplishment of Jacob's beloved son, Joseph, as well. He said, "is there a diviner who can divine as I?" (Genesis 44:15). The word for divining is nachash, the same word as the word for the serpent who seduced Adam and Eve into eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, and the same numerical value as the Messiah. Joseph raised the serpent to the level of Wisdom. Therefore the numerical value of Ner Chanukah (lights of Chanukah) is the same as Jacob and Joseph combined, 339.The completion of the seventy days of mourning for Jacob which began on the first day of Sukkot, when the world is judged on matters of water (crops and life itself) ends on Chanukah which gives us light from oil. Oil represents wisdom. This is why the Chassidim say that the judgment for the year can be re-opened and improved all the way till Chanukah, for during this time all seventy aspects of the soul are brought to completion through the spiritual attainments of Jacob and though our emulating his greatness through our study of Torah and coming closer to G-d

In doing this, may we all merit to be blessed with a year of goodness and joy, with health, children and sustenance, plus all of the spiritual blessings including the coming of the righteous Messiah.



from the December 1997 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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