Chanukah Midrash-Chapter 3: Chassidic Insights

This article is an excerpt from

To purchase this Sefer, click here

Chapter 3: Chassidic insights

1. The Yevanim wanted the Jewish people to write on the horn of an ox that they do not have a portion in the G-d of Israel:[1]

Chazal[2] state the Yevanim demanded that the Jews write on the horn of the ox that they do not have a portion amongst the G-d of Israel. This means as follows: The Yevanim were not interested in destroying the Jewish people or harming them, but simply in making them desert their religion “To make them forget your Torah.” The reason for this is because they were jealous of the source from which the Jewish people received their vitality. The gentiles contain an animal soul from the “face of the ox” of the Divine chariot. They however receive from the “horns and hooves” of the ox and not from its internal aspects. The soul of a Jew, however, derives from the man that sits on the chariot, and for this reason the Jewish people have ability to draw down the infinite light of G-d. The Yevanim desired that the Jewish people write on the horn of the ox that they have no portion in the above and that they too will receive from the external aspect of the ox. [In Hayom Yom it states as follows:[3] The entire battle of the Greeks against the Jewish people was simply against G-dliness. They did not mind that the Jewish people would continue learning Torah and fulfilling Mitzvah’s and simply demanded that they not mention G-d’s name in its fulfillment and not mention anything about G-dliness. This is the meaning of the above Midrashic statement that they asked the Jewish people to write on the horn of the ox that they do not have a portion in the G-d of Israel.]

2. The Temple lighting versus Chanukah lights:

A. The Temple Lighting-Seven candles lit by night and one by day:[4]

All seven candles of the Menorah were lit at night. By day, only the 6th[5] [and 7th[6]] candle was lit.[7] This candle was called the Ner Hamaravi. The reason for this is as follows: Night represents a time of spiritual darkness, a time for evil forces to come out and wander. At this time, it is most necessary to have spiritual light come out and shine the darkness, hence banishing the evil. During the day, however, there is not much need for spiritual light, and hence only one candle was lit. On a deeper scale, this is explained as follows: The seven candles of the Menorah represent the seven Middos of Kedusha, from Chesed until Malchus. Now, these seven Middos also exist in Kelipa; such as the Middah of love of G-d in Kelipa exists as a Middah for physical lusts, and a fear of G-d in Kelipa exists as a fear of foreign items, as well as anger. Through lighting the seven candles at night one transforms these Middos of Kelipah to Kedusha. Light comes from Chochma, and it is the light/Chochma of the candles that refines the evil Middos.

B. The Temple Menorah was lit by the right side; The Chanukah Menorah by the left side:[8]

In times of the Temple, the Menorah was lit inside the Kadosh, by the southern wall. In the directions of the Temple, East is referred to as front while west refers to the back. This would make the South be considered the right and the North the left. It thus ends up that the Menorah was lit by the right side. This is in contrast to today, that the Menorah is lit on the left, opposite the Mezuzah. The reason for this is as follows: In times of the Temple, the Menorah contained seven branches, corresponding to the G-dly light of Seder Hishtalshlus. This Divine revelation is defined and limited and can be nurtured by the Kelipos, fueling their evil activities. Therefore, the Menorah of the Temple was not lit by the left side, as the left represents Gevurah which gives place for Kelipa, and lighting in that direction could nurture the Kelipos. However, the Chanukah Menorah contains eight candles, representing the Divine light that is above Seder Hishtalshlus. This Divine light not only cannot be used to nurture the Kelipos, but on the contrary, blinds and eradicates them. Therefore, the Chanukah candles are lit by the left side, in order to refine the left, refine the Kelipos, and elevate them towards Kedusha.


Segulos applicable during Chanukah

Having children:[9] 

The days of Chanukah are an auspicious time for barren women to conceive and have children.

Gates of Teshuvah are still open:[10]

Until the end of Chanukah, there is an extended hand stretched from heaven waiting to accept all those that repent, just like during the ten days of repentance. At the end of Chanukah, the gates of Teshuvah that were opened in Elul are finally closed.


The end of the Chasima:[11]

The start of Chanukah marks the end of the Chasima of Hoshana Rabba. It is by Chanukah that the Divine benevolence decreed on Rosh Hashanah finally begins to shine.



[1] Torah Or Vayeishev 30a

[2] Bereishis Raba 16 and 44; Brought in Hayom Yom 2nd Teves

[3] Hayom Yom 2nd Teves; Sefer Hamamarim 5701 p. 59

[4] Torah Or Vayeishev p. 29a

[5] Shaareiy Orah p. 6 writes only one candle was lit

[6] See Rashi Menachos 86b

[7] This follows the opinion of Rashi Menachos 86b; Tosafus ibid; Ramban; Ravad; Rashba; Implication of dialect of Avoda of Yossi Ben Yossi Kohen Gadol, printed in Seder Avoda of Yom Kippur in Siddur Arizal and Admur [letter in Likkutei Sichos 23:354]

[8] Mamar Parshas Mikeitz 1988 “Veata Berachamecha Harabim” [Printed in Melukat Daled p. 102]

[9] Bnei Yisaschar

[10] Taamei Haminhagim P. 363 towards bottom in name of Bnei Binyanim, Reb David Mirimnov, in name of Bnei Yisaschar

[11] Taamei Haminhagim P. 363 towards bottom in name of Reb Ahron of Zhitmor

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.