What is Chanukah – Steinberg
Immediately when the sun set on 24th Kislev and the market was closed, Chanich the slaughterer hurried to finish the afternoon and evening prayers quickly, and ran home, and closed the door behind him, and started preparations for lighting the Chanukah candle to commemorate the miracle. And the door was closed to the thugs, who were on the floor above his home, and would always pass by his door, big clowns they were, may the Lord save us, and absolute heretics.
They without a doubt would ridicule him. He did not wish for any Jew to fail by such a grave transgression of ridicule of the Lord’s commandments.
And he quickly and carefully opened a nut and he was delayed somewhat because he found he was embarrassed and he did not know what to do with the content of the nut. He could not throw it away, due to the deprivation of eating; to give it to children he was uncertain, due to concern that they would use if for shooting devices for the commandments, it is definitely forbidden to enjoy it, indeed the nut was invited and bestowed. The invitation had been fulfilled, but we will immediately remember the commandment standing before us, and he threw the contents on to the fire, one slice after another and kept the shell for tomorrow, and the second slice he put on the bench at the entrance, and gave it oil and a wick, armed with the sun alight in his hand, and said the blessing with intent and with joy and lit the candle, and he considers great skill in this appearance, whether they were many candles or just one candle, every night of the eight nights with absolute intent he said the blessings together on conclusion of the lighting, he was never late and never early. And then he would move back slightly, and look at the shining candles, and felt great pleasure, more than one of sixty in the next world.
“These candles are holy” – certainly they are holy, they light with hidden light, the light of seven days “and we are not permitted to use them....”.
And he screws his eyes shut, because he was concerned that he would enjoy the light of the candles “it is commanded not to enjoy them”.
However immediately he looks at the sun coming from the side and is satisfied, “My enjoyment is on account of the sun” and he consoles himself “and we are not permitted to use them but only to look at them”. Only to look at them my song. How many good degrees has the Lord given us, who left us at lets on the nights of Chanukah to look at the divine light, the hidden light for the righteous in the future.
And no longer will the content be dressed in a lovely shell, in a good act, by lighting the candles. And no longer when He stood, it would seem and commanded us to give thanks and praise for the miracles and the wonders, that He made and is making and shall make with our fathers and with us every day and at all times, every house and every moment, and he sings with much pleasure “Moaz Tzur” in a voice somewhere between weeping and joy, and the sorrow emerges and is heard in the rejoicing, spreads throughout the house, and when it is thrust into the hearts of the listeners in his home, those sighing with an expansion of the heart and with such an emotion of pride, as the sons of kings that were taken into captivity.
And when he comes to the rhyme “evil is in my soul” it seems to him, that he is Chanich, suffering for all of Israel, and he bends and stoops with good will to take upon himself the bad load and the burden of slavery, but when he comes to “I have brought your holy word” it seems to him also that he has grasped the Holy One blessed by He, it would seem, by his garment, by the garment of Chanich, and he brought him Chanich, to the word of the Lord, and he looked at the light of the candles and looked and looked, and his eyes were not satiated, the more that he looked at it, the more he had objections in his mind that the mouth cannot utter and the ear cannot hear. And he sees instinctively, that the flame of the candles moves from east to west, from north to south, diminishes and spreads, he knows clearly that all these movements are not coincidental, but rather pursuant to personal providence. And what about the bundle or the sliver that sometimes moves the legs of man from place to place, these will not be moved pursuant to personal provenance – and even more so these flames of the holy Chanukah candles, shall not move coincidentally. And if so there is intent in this. And he has disappearing secrets and enigmas. The candles say poetry, a single poem, praising and thanking to the Blessed be He – who created the entire world.
And there, above, on the upper floor, the thugs gathered, rowdily, celebrating and gossiping about the festival. What a surprise, everywhere that they sense the smell of blood, immediately they gather together, alike bees around honey. They are happy with Yehuda the Maccabee. The big fools! And is it conceivable, that if not for Yehuda the Maccabee there would have been no Chanukah. This is the Torah, that preceeed the creation of the world by two thousand years, would it have been without laws and great commandments? And indeed he knows that the same acts of the Hasmoneans and the wars, were the wars the main thing? Every war with the Hasmoneans and with Yehuda the Maccabee were only to fulfil one law of our holy and innocent Torah that does not have any deficit or surplus, and it is everlasting and includes all the dates and all the times. And they are happy and joyful, not about the hiddle light, but rather about some sin of blood of the Greeks that was spilt. They do not know, that everything, in general, does not come for the beautiful palaces of Martha daughter of Boethus and Nakdimon son of Gurion, who are crying and are so sorry for their destruction, but rather because of that same pure jar, which contains secrets of secrets. However those who have realized have no grasp of spirituality, they leave the wheat and take the chaff.
“Expose your holy arm...” and he intends the meaning of the words, that the Blessed Lord shall expose the eyes of the blind to understand and achieve real achievement, to know “what is Chanukah” and why the war and the Hasmoneans were created.