Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Zos Channukah - The forgotten children

I atteneded the Bostoner of Bet Shemesh's hadlakas Neiros last night and he said:
Perhaps the concept of the time for lighting Channulah candles designated as "ad shetichleh regel min hashuk," which is difficult to understand (why Chazal chose to designate that time in such a way) means that the regilus or the habit that some Jews have of wandering in the shuk or marketplace (which is the dwelling of the external negative forces and) together with the gentile nations, and then he sighed saying "A Yid iz azoy und azoy und azoy," which I took to mean that a Jew must remember how truly different and unique he is, even though the gentiles may understand that a Jew is like this or like that i.e. that is just like they are. Therefore we must light a small candle and kindle a flame in such a way that it shall declare and proclaim the miracle of Channukah and survival of us as Jews against all odds! that they shall not be able to feel habituated to us nor us to them, ad shetichleh regel min hashuk," until that habit of us in the marketplace is ended, to the point that they fathom not what a Jewish child is at all!
Afterwards I was zoche to learn from the sefer Birkas Moshe of Lelov as I sat at the Zos Channukah tisch last night in Lelov Bet Shemesh:

Parshas Naso reading for Zos Channukah begins with Bamidbar Chapter 7 verse 54. "On the eighth day, the nasi or chieftain was of the sons of Menashe, Gamliel the son of Pedatzhur.   נד. בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי נָשִׂיא לִבְנֵי מְנַשֶּׁה גַּמְלִיאֵל בֶּן פְּדָה צוּר

The Birkas Moshe, Rav Moshe Mordechai of Lelov zatzal understood this verse which refers to the final eighth day of Channukah on which the light of the Menorah shines brightest with eight lights (the heilige Imrei Pinchas Koretzer and Meor Aynaim of Czernoble taught that light of Moshiach shines through the Menorah),

On the eighth day of Zos Channukah even the forgotten sons are uplifted, anyone who simply declares I too have a G-d! Whoever lets the Rock and Redeemer of Israel into his life! is uplifted on this day! Each and every Jew, no matter how lowly, no matter how forlorn and lost he may feel, like one of the forgotten sons, yet on Zos Channukah Hashem uplifts him and shines for him the light of Moshiach and redemption. All a Jew has to say is I too, have a G-d! I am not lost for Hashem is with me. Then if he lets G-d in, he is uplifted.

How does the Lelover read this into our verse?

On the eighth day (Zos Channukah) Nasi (they shall be uplifted, since Nasi literally means uplifted one),  Bnei Menashe (the forgotten children - from the meaning of the name Menashe which Yosef named him because Hashem had caused Yosef to forget his pain and hardships see Bereishis 41:51) Gamliel (read as Gam Li E"l - I too have a G-d) ben Pedatzhur (Peda Tzur He who has redeemed the Rock - or he who lets G-d in).

Chapter 7 verse 56. One spoon [weighing] ten [shekels] of gold filled with incense.   נו. כַּף אַחַת עֲשָׂרָה זָהָב מְלֵאָה קְטֹרֶת

The Birkas Moshe also cites a teaching from the tzadik Rav Meir of Premishlan on the above verse. He interprets this verse to mean that with just one small bow, just a small demonstration of self subjugation and submission to Hashem's will one is transformed into a goldene yid, a golden Jew. How does the Premishlaner see this in the above verse? Kaf Achas - Kaf is spelled Chaf Fay, which is the root of the verb LaChuf, which means to bow and to submit onself, Achas means One. Thus One Spoon is read as One bow of submission.
Asarah Zahav - Ten Gold - Ten is equal to Yud in Gematria a well known Yiddishism for a Jew a Yid. thus Ten shekels of Gold is read as a Goldene Yid. Mit Ayn Beg - with just one small bow of submission to Hashem's will, vert min a goldene Yid - we are transformed into golden Jews!

May the light of Zos Channukah shine the golden Jewish soul within each of us!

Berditchever Stories for Zos Channukah

Sorry I meant to send this out on time for Shabbos:
Please enjoy the following Stories and Insights for Zos Channukah
Cooling Off in the Snow
The Chossid Reb Shaul Leib Gantz used to relate the following story every year on Channukah, and this was his tale:
Once on Channukah the holy Ropshitzer was seen entering his home while his feet were sore and bleeding. When his family questioned him as to why he appeared so bruised and injured he answered that he had been rolling in the snow (in those days this was a common form of self affliction for penitents to repent their sins).  When his family exclaimed their surprise that an elderly tzadik such as himself still felt the need for such heavy measures of torture and self affliction, he explained himself by telling them the following story:
"When I was a young man I was filled with a great burning desire to see the holy Berditchever Rav light Channukah candles! Nothing could deter me, not the long distance, nor the lack of funds for travel. And so, in the dead of winter, in the bitter cold, I began my trip and set out on foot towards Berditchev. Since I had no money, not only was transportation was out of the question, but I spent my nights sleeping on the hard benches of the beis midrash, warming myself by the oven in the cold winter nights with neither a blanket nor a cover. Many a day I froze as the bitter winds bit at me, and the frost hung on my beard and whiskers. I relied on the hospitality of strangers for food and eventually a carriage driver spotted me and had mercy on me and took me part of the way gratis.
Eventually I reached Berditchev, cold, hungry but with a fire burning inside me goading me on. When I reached the Berditchever Rav's home my heart leapt, however when I entered it dropped into my stomach.
Now the Berditchever's Rav's home was not like the homes of today, large and well furnished, it was but a small cramped flat with only two rooms. In the larger room were congregated a great many Jews who, like myself, had come to observe the holy tzadik's avodah in lighting the Channukah candles. How, I thought to myself, will I ever see the Berditchever with such a crowd here preceding me. I grew dismayed at the thought that all my efforts could have been in vain. But I was determined at all costs to see the Berditchever and then I had an idea. I began to creep on the ground on all fours in between the legs of the assembled crowd.
Now this was in the Ukraine in the winter, all the assembled were wearking heavy boots caked with mud and clay. Nonetheless I continued on all fours pushing my way through the crowd of booted feet as I was stepped on and jostled. Obviously when I emerged I was covered in bruises and mud but I had succeeded in reaching the far side of the room. Thus on my hands on knees I peered through the cracks and crevices of the ill fitted wooden double doors and this is what my eyes beheld:
There stood the holy Berditchever Rav, author Kedushas Levi, his face aflame, his excitement and ecstacy palatable as he stood pouring oil into his menorah! Off course there was more oil on the floor than there was in the menorah but I had seen enough!
Now understand my children," concluded the Ropshitzer, "that today I once again remembered that Channuka and the look in the Berdicthever Rav's eyes, his excitement set me aflame once more, and the only way I could contain myself and cool off was to roll in the snow, which is what I just did."
What Does the Poritz Know About Pleasure and Comfort?
Once the holy Kedushas Levi entered his beis midrash on Channukah and observed a group of chassidim assembled together speaking in undertones. When they noticed the Berditchever approaching their hushed whispers ended and they stood silent. "What were you discussing?" asked the Berditchever. Abashed and silent the chassidim's cheeks burned red with shame as they stood silent unanswering. However the Berditchever was not so easily disuaded, and he pursued the matter once again, "Nu, what were you discussing, eh?" Finally, one of the chassidim confessed, "Rebbe, we were discussing the Graf Potatzski, the local squire and how much wealth and material comforts he has." The Berditchever looked back at them and countered, "does the Graf light Channukah candles?" "Off course not Rebbe!" answered the astonished chassid, "The Graf is a gentile!" "Well then," answered the Berditchever declaring with finality, "then surely he has no true simcha nor joy in his life at all!"