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Chanukah Kavanot First Two Days Print E-mail

ChanukahThe Ramchal in Kitzur Kavanot explains that Chanukah is the Tikkun – fixing – of the verse, “Sick throughout the day.” (Lamentations 1:13)

I. Bloodied in Battle
“Birds of prey descended upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.” (Genesis 15:11) The birds of prey represent King David, who is compared to a bloodstained bird of prey, as the verse says, “Has My heritage become for Me like a bloodstained bird of prey, which the other birds of prey surround proclaiming, ‘Go gather all the beasts of the field, let them come to eat!’” (Jeremiah 12:9)

A bird of prey descended at sunrise, and Abram drove them away until sunset. Rabbi Eliezer said, “We learn from here that the all the many years of the rule of the four kingdoms over Israel in exile is only one day for God.” This is certainly true as the verse says, “Sick throughout the day,” except for two portions of the day. The sun is weakened toward evening, the evening, which will be the beginning of the Illumination of Israel, as the verse says, “Towards evening there will be light.” (Zechariah 14:7) [Peirush Ba’alei Tosafot]

King David was bloodied from all the battles he fought to protect and secure Israel. God did not allow him to build the Beit Hamikdash, the Place of Peace, because he had spilled so much blood. He fought for God’s people and thereby lost his opportunity.

But it was only temporary. He will come back toward evening, the evening described by Zechariah as the beginning of redemption.

The Ramchal explains that the Syrian-Greeks and the Hellenists, tried to convince us that we were ill, that our strength from Torah was weakened. Our enemies tell us that we will become sicker if we become bloodstained, as was King David, fighting our enemies.

We light the Chanukah candles toward evening to symbolize that the “bloodied bird of prey” can now return because the Chashmonaim’s battles were the beginning of the evening when, “there will be light.”

We often feel spiritually ill and weakened by our battle to maintain our spiritual awareness in this world. Chanukah is the time we can approach the highest levels – Redemption – even if weak and ill.

II. The Separation is Only Temporary
There are three times in Tanach when we find the word, “Davah,” sick. The verse in Lamentations, and, “A man who shall lie with a woman in her affliction.” (Leviticus 20:18) The third appearance is, “You will contaminate the coating of your silver graven idols and the embellishment of your golden molten images. You will cast them away like someone unclean. You will tell it, ‘Be gone!’” (Isaiah 30:22)
Rabbi Akiva taught, “Just as the affliction of a woman is only temporary, yet it causes emotional pain of separation from her beloved, so too, the impurity of idol worship is temporary. It causes a deep emotional chasm between God and Israel, but the illness will disappear when we cry out to false gods, ‘Be gone!’” (Shabbat 82a)

It is the light of Chanukah that empowers us to declare to all our false beliefs and distractions, embodied by the Hellenists, “Be gone!” At that point, the Chanukah light will heal us of our illnesses. (Ramchal – See too, Rabbi Chaim Vialli, Kos Tanchumin, Eichah 1:13)






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