B”H December 31, 2019 by Tzvi Fievel Previously, I had mentioned how upon walking out of a local health food store, I had seen two chanukias (menorot) with only four candles plus the shamash (servant) candle; yet, that particular day was the seventh day of Chanukah. Today, the day after Chanukah, I noticed that someone […]the Light of Kindness — Clear Horizons
It seems as if I am being put to the test; not only me, of course, I wouldn’t be so prideful to assume so. However, I am feeling a part of this collective nisyanos (challenge) for K’lal Yisrael, “All of Israel.” As for the scourge of antisemitism, the most proficient response, in addition to practical measures, is prayer. Prayer is universal, immediately accessible, and potentially more effective than any other measure taken. As the teaching goes, the more trust placed in G-d, the greater our security will be.
As the eighth day draws to a close, I commit to preserving the light of Chanukah through prayer, study and gemilut chasadim (acts of lovingkindness). How appropos, as the new year begins on the Gregorian calendar to make such a resolution. May others be inspired. And, “Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear” (John Lennon, War Is Over). For fear resides in the heart of man, unless squelched by faith, love, and hope, despite whatever the circumstances may be in a person’s life or the condition of his environment. Transcend the darkness with light, until the perfect dawn.
B”H The eighth day of Chanukah is the culmination of all of the others days of this eight day holiday. As is found in Torah, according to the parallel to the last day that a prince of one of the twelve tribes of Israel brought his gifts to the mishkan (tabernacle). Zos chanukas mizbeach – […]The Eighth Day of Chanukah — Clear Horizons
erev 2 Teves 5780
– eighth night of Chanukah
Light will transcend the darkness in our lives when we cast our gaze towards the flame of truth, the eish tamid (eternal light) that is symbolized by Chanukah. The light of the Menorah in the temple, lit by the small cruze of oil found amidst the debris in the Temple, is the light of hope and renewal.
A little known midrash connects that small cruze of oil to the renewal of mankind, creation, and the earth itself, after the Mavul (Flood). When the dove brought back an olive branch in it’s mouth, according to the midrash, Noah pressed enough olive oil to place inside a small container. This cruze of oil was passed down to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When Jacob returned to Beth El, he anointed the foundation stone with this oil. Then, according to the midrash, he hid the small cruze of precious olive oil.
This Place (HaMakom) was none other than Mt. Moriah, where the Temple was eventually established. Yes; because of the miracle of light that lasted for eight days from this precious oil, we celebrate Chanukah today. Midrash is not always meant to be taken literally; therefore, a symbolic viewpoint may be rendered from this particular midrash. The message of hope will be like a small flame illuminating the darkness, despite whatever circumstances may cast a shadow over our lives.
Yehi ratzon. May it be His will that the light of hope and renewal throughout the ages will always prevail over darkness. Amein.
B”H by Tzvi Schnee December 29, 2019 At the local health food store, here, in Florida, my other state of dwelling throughout the year, I noticed two chanukiahs (Chanukah menorot) sitting on the small customer service desk: they each had the shamas candle plus four candles on one side of the menorah. I mentioned to […]seventh day of lights — Clear Horizons
Each day of the eight days of Chanukah, a candle is lit, successively, so that on the first day – one candle is lit, then two candles on the eve of the second day, and so on. Yet, if you look at a menorah designed for Chanukah, there are nine candle holders. (Unless the menorah uses oil with tiny wicks, then there are nine repositories for the oil). The reason for a total of nine, is to have a place, usually in the center of the menorah, for the shamash (servant) candle, that is used to light all of the other candles. This candle is lit first; then, it shares its light with the other candles.
The tradition is reminiscent of the pasuk (verse), “In Thy light do we see light” (Psalm 36:10, JPS 1917 Tanach). H’Shem is the source of life, that bestows light upon us; we are connected, even dependent upon Him for every breathe we take. “For Thou dost light my lamp; the L-RD my G-d doth lighten my darkness” (Psalm 18:29, JPS). At the darkest time of the year, may we hope to be enlightened by H’Shem, by way of His emes (truth), and chesed (mercy), two key components of Chanukah; for His truth led us in the darkness against our enemies; and, through His mercy the few were able to defeat the many.
B”H “But know that the L-RD hath set apart the godly man as His own; the L-RD will hear when I call unto Him.” – Psalm 4:3, JPS 1917 Tanach We celebrate Chanukah, scarcely calling to mind the significance of the holiday, aside from the miracle of the oil that continued to provide light for […]Chanukah message — Clear Horizons
27 Kislev 5780
by Tzvi Schnee
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the L-RD of hosts.”
– Zechariah 4:6, JPS 1917 Tanach
The miracle of the oil that lasted eight days, giving light to the Menorah inside of the Temple, not the military victory of the Maccabees (a small group of pious Jewish fighters) over the Syrians is emphasized, as per the ruling of the Sages. We celebrate Chanukah in recognition of G-d’s Spirit enabling us to defeat our enemies, not by our own strength or strategical prowess in battle.
Likewise, in recognition of G-d’s hand in our lives, we may bravely face the day, with Him on our side; yet, at the same time, humbling ourselves before Him, inclusive of accepting His plans for us, replete with an acknowledgment of His guidance. He will not lead us astray; rather, he will lead us into victory time and time again. May we be able to conquer our inner battles, with a little help from Above.
26 Kislev 5780
December 24, 2019
by Tzvi Schnee
On the first night of Chanukah, the shamash (servant) candle is lit first; then, the shamash candle is used to light the first candle, symbolic of the first day of Chanukah. On the second night of Chanukah, the shamash lights two candles. After these have been fully burned, there is a total of five candles, including two shamash candles, that have been lit so far. There are fourty-four candles in a box; so, there should be thirty-nine candles left for the succeeding days of Chanukah.
Who’s counting? I imagine that all serious seekers of meaning in every moment, as well as in all the details of the eight days of Chanukah are counting. The impression of the candles upon the mind’s eye; this remembrance fosters the imprint of the holiday throughout the eight days. Making all of our days count in the eyes of G-d is what matters. A holy remembrance of each day in the book of our lives.
“Then they that feared the L-RD spoke one with another; and the L-RD hearkened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for them that feared the L-RD, and that thought upon His name.”
– Malachi 3:16, JPS 1917 Tanach
What is meaningful in life will be of lasting value. What may be looked back upon at the end of the day, as something of importance, will not recede readily into the past. Making the most of our time in the morning, before the day’s tasks become a blur, a whirlwind of hectic running from one place to another. A few hours quietly spent in reflection, before the day imposes its burdens upon us. Carefully chosen words, gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness), and a constant focus on G-d. “I am ever mindful of the L-rd’s presence” (Psalm 16:8).
“Thou has counted my wanderings; put Thou my tears into Thy bottle; are they not in Thy book?”
– Psalm 56:9, JPS 1917 Tanach
25 Kislev 5780
December 23, 2019
by Tzvi Schnee
Last night, the eight-candled menorah was lit; two candles, the shamash (servant candle), and the first candle symbolic of the first day of the eight-day miracle. It is as if the light of the seven-candled Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash (Temple), over two thousand years ago, when the second Temple was redeadicated, still burns all over the world in the homes of millions of Jewish people for eight days.
May the inner spiritual light of Chanukah also burn in our heart of hearts, lighting up the way within the darkness of our lives. When the future looked bleak, we triumphed over the enemy. May the same be true today, especially, in regard to the challenges in our lives.