Study and Theory/

Rabbi Hillel

In the matters of Chanukah

Lighting the Chanukah candle has two meanings:

The first - making light that spreads and illuminates all the distant corners that until this time had been dark - in the sense that “the candle is a good deed and the Torah is light” (Proverbs 6).

The second - lighting fire that spreads, burns and destroys all that is evil “and destroy the evil in your midst”. (Deuteronomy, 1).

And the question is asked: when we want to progress and build the world with good, with what shall we start - with destruction of the evil or with illumination and emphasis of the good?
It would seem that the House of Hillel and the House of Shamai differ.
The House of Shamai says: “Firstly light eight candles, and thereafter decrease”.
And the House of Hillel says: “On the first day light one candle, and thereafter increase. (Bavli, Shabbat, 21).

It would seem that this disagreement is as to which force to prefer? The House of Shamai as is their wont say:

In order to build firstly you need to burn and destroy the evil. Firstly, when there is a lot of evil the fire is big. And later inasmuch as it destroys the evil. the fire reduces, dwindles and diminishes until “all the evil is ended” and the House of Hillel say that we should start by emphasizing the light that is spreading and illuminating all the dark labyrinths.
And the law according to the House of Hillel (according to Rabbi Zayun).

When we light a candle, we also light light and also burn fire.
The light spreads and illuminates and the fire blazes and burns.
The difference between the pleasant light and the destructive fire is the caution.
Sometimes a person feels during his life that he is “fired up” by something that happens and he has to react.

There is a reaction that is light and there is a reaction that is fire. It is very easy to differentiate between these two reactions; the firsts illuminates, causes pleasantness and after the reaction it is possible to continue together and perhaps in a better way than before. And the second burns, hurts, destroys bridges and after the reaction it is impossible to continue together. Both sides are injured, burnt. 

The difference between these two reactions is the caution. For a person who lights a candle and who is careful, the candle will only be beneficial. A person who thinks with self-control and is careful of the flame and the anger will be able to build the light so that it illuminates the dark corners. And suddenly it is revealed that when we have seen the darkness as a frightening and disturbing block, with the light it seems as an object that we desire and we need it greatly.
A little light repels a lot of darkness!

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