Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fwd: Rav Lieber "HaGadol" of Berdichev - The Founder of Berditchev .Zecher Tzadik Livracha. Zechusoi Yagen Aleinu. Amen.

From my good friend Jacob Lehrfeld

A Gutte Vuch To The Gutte Nation.

Tonight Motzei Shabbos Sunday the 28th of Tishrei is

The Holy Yartzeit of:

28 Tishrei - Rav  Lieber "HaGadol" of Berdichev His real name was Rav Eliezer ben Rav Avraham (1771) one of the Talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov. He was a great-grandson (ben acher ben) of R' Shimshon Ostropolier and was also a descendent of the Megaleh Amukos.. Zecher Tzadik VKadosh Livracha. Zechusoi Yagen Aleinu.Amen.


Courtesy: David Hoffman

The Founder of Berditchev
Born:5427-(1667) - Died:5531- (1771)
Rav Lieber HaGadol had a unique way of combining his "Avodas Hashem" with an incalculable love of every Jew. At night, when he wandered around the giant forests surrounding Berditchev in order to learn, daven and ponder over Hashem's wonders, he simultaneously kept a sharp lookout for any sheep and cattle that may have strayed away from their owners during the day. At the end of the night, he would drive the animals before him back to Berditchev, pausing beneath people's windows to call out, "Here is your goat!" "Here is your cow!"
Although he had never been an official talmid of the Baal Shem Tov, Rav Lieber, the founder of the Berditchev kehillah, sowed seeds of Chassidus in his town that exploded into full bloom during the years of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev.

It is not surprising that Rav Lieber became one of the greatest Ukrainian "gedolim" of his time as he was the great-great-grandson of two renowned giants, Rav Shimshon of Ostropol and Rav Nasan Shapiro, author of the Megalleh Amukos. This is why Rav Lieber instructed in his will that no descendants of his should ever marry kohanim. He had received this warning from his ancestor, Rav Shimshon of Ostropol who explained that because his family was descended from Dovid HaMelech, combining kehunah with malchus could lead to the family's destruction.
Rav Lieber's father, Rav Avraham, had fled from Krakow to Bistritch in the Ukraine, probably during the Swedish invasion of Poland (5415/1655-5418/1658) when thousands of Jews from Krakow, Kalish, Piotrikov, Poznan and Lublin were slaughtered by Swedes, Poles and the plague. Some historians estimate that about half a million Polish Jews died during these few years. Although most of the Polish Jews returned home afterwards to patch up their lives, many others, including Rav Avraham fled to other countries to make a new start. After all, do not Chazal (see Rosh Hashanah 16b) state, "Shinui makom shinui mazal," "Changing one's place can improve one's mazal?"
Sadly, Rav Avraham's mazal did not seem to have improved since he died while still a young man but he left his young son, Rav Lieber, ten thousand gold coins. Rav Lieber immersed himself so deeply in Torah, it is said, that every night, his famous ancestors descended from the heavens to teach him the secrets of Kabalah.
In those days, Berditchev barely existed. Although first founded in about 5190/1430, reputedly by someone named Berdich, it had been destroyed by the Tartars and then only a handful of Jews lived in its vicinity. Most of Berditchev was still thick, untouched forest.
Something about the wild, unpopulated area attracted Rav Lieber like a magnet and he felt certain that there was something unique about the place. After his father's passing, he would cross the river every morning and evening and stroll among its ancient trees, reveling in the opportunity to be alone with Hashem without disturbances. He maintained this custom for months and years.
One morning, the ducal owner of Bistritch and its environs was traveling in the forest in his coach when his horses suddenly halted and reared upwards, almost throwing the duke out of his carriage. They had been startled by Rav Lieber, who was standing in the forest track in his tallis and tefillin, totally unaware of the coach that had almost run him down. Using every ounce of his strength, the duke's Ukrainian coachman somehow got the horses under control.
Then the infuriated duke ordered his tough coachman to give the insolent Jew a whipping he would not forget. The coachman did not need to be told twice; his whip sang through the air biting into Rav Lieber's clothes and flesh. However, Rav Lieber was so engrossed in his davening that he did not notice a thing.
"What's going on?" the coachman asked his master. "What should I do? No matter how much I beat this person, it makes no impression. He isn't a human being!"
"Leave him alone!" the duke said in disgust. "Let's go."
Back home, the duke leapt from the carriage and strode confidently into his luxurious mansion; suddenly his legs and arms went limp and he collapsed onto the floor.
"Help, help!" he cried out.
The servants who ran in from every direction could not do anything except carry him to his room and put him in bed. There he lay helpless as a newborn, and his doctor declared that his condition was hopeless. Help came from an unexpected quarter. Like most Ukrainian land-owners, the duke had a Jewish arender (estate manager). When he heard what happened, his face turned white.
"Do you know who the person the duke beat up must have been?" he asked the servants. "Obviously our great maggid who crosses the river to pray every day! I am certain the duke will never recover from his paralysis until he begs him for forgiveness!"
The duke immediately sent his doctor to help Rav Lieber recover from his beating and to bear a message begging his forgiveness. This was a golden opportunity for Rav Lieber to fulfill a long-time dream.
"I will forgive the duke if he builds a large shul at the place I was praying and a house next door in which to live," Rav Lieber told the doctor.
The duke hurriedly built the shul and the house and, after his recovery, he visited Rav Lieber and asked if there was anything else he wanted.
"Yes," he replied. "I would like you to build a town next to the shul."
This is how the Berditchev kehillah was founded in about 5451/1691.

It is not surprising that the mere mention of Berditchev's name evokes spiritual longings in Jewish hearts, as Rav Lieber used to say that the shul he built was sited opposite the gateway to Heaven where the prayers of Klal Yisroel stream skywards. This is one reason Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev established his kloiz and home right next door to the old, original shul of Berditchev when he moved there after Rav Lieber's passing.
In addition, Rav Lieber built a beis medrash next to his shul where he taught revealed and hidden Torah to talmidim. Once the Berditchev kehillah began thriving, Rav Lieber served as its maggid. Despite his deep Torah knowledge, he always bowed to the authority of the Berditchev av beis din, Rav Yosef Halperin, known as Rav Yosef Charif because of his sharp mind; the only time he paskened shaylos was when Rav Yosef was unavailable.
On one such occasion, a butcher came to Rav Lieber with an animal's problematical lung.
"This lung seems to have a sircha (lesion)," the butcher told him. "Does this make it treif?"
"Certainly!" replied Rav Lieber who was generally machmir (stringent) when it came to sirchos. "This animal is absolutely forbidden!"
At that very moment, Rav Yosef entered and Rav Lieber asked his opinion about the sircha.
"I say that is kosher!" the rav replied.
"Oy vey!" cried out Rav Lieber. "My apologies to you Reb Yid (the butcher) for almost causing you a great loss, and my apologies to you, lung, for ruling that you are treif!"
If Rav Lieber had such love and consideration even for an inanimate lung, imagine the feeling he had for Klal Yisroel! The depth of his love for every Jew was indescribable. In his home, he always had a special room ready with twelve beds for any tired and hungry wayfarers who might pass by, and he treated his simplest guests like honored personages.
There is a story told that this great hospitality almost led to tragedy when Rav Lieber once remarked to his sons, "In the Next World, I will not be embarrassed of my hachnosses orchim even before Avrohom Avinu!"
As this tiny shred of pride was unfitting for his lofty level, it was decreed on high that he should not live out the year. When Eliyahu HaNavi heard of this impending tragedy, he rushed before the Heavenly beis din and fervently pled in Rav Lieber's defense. How could such a tremendous tzaddik be condemned to perish for making a miniscule error?
The court ordered that Eliyahu HaNavi should come down in the form of a ragged, filthy pauper and test Rav Lieber. If Rav Lieber received him pleasantly and gave him every honor, the decree would be revoked. Of course, Eliyahu's duty was to make this trial as difficult as possible.
Eliyahu HaNavi arrived at Rav Lieber's home moments before Shabbos just as Rav Lieber was about to set off to shul. Physically, he seemed the most repulsive looking person Rav Lieber had met in his life.
"I'm hungry!" the stranger slurred. "Give me something to eat!"
"But it is time to go to shul," advised Rav Lieber.
"I need food now!" retorted the pauper.
Rav Lieber immediately brought him a generous plateful of food. However, the poor man's stomach was a bottomless pit and as fast as Rav Lieber rushed in food from the kitchen, the stranger gluttonously gobbled it down. In one sitting, down went the challah, fish, soup and chicken of Shabbos night, down went the cholent and kugel of Shabbos morning, and down went the fish of shalosh seudos.
"Let us go and daven," suggested Rav Lieber when the stranger was temporarily sated.
"You go yourself," said the visitor. "I want to sleep now – in your bed."
Clambering in Rav Lieber's bed with filthy clothes and muddy boots, the stranger fell into a stupor but not for long. By the time Rav Lieber returned from shul, he was already up like a new man with a new appetite, ready once more to eat his host out of house and home. The same thing happened on Shabbos morning. With no food left in his house, Rav Lieber brought in food from relatives and neighbors.
The guest's coarse behavior all this while was beyond description.
After Havdalah, Eliyahu HaNavi revealed his true identity to Rav Lieber and told him, "Because of your momentary pride, the Heavenly court condemned you to death. I came down to save your life, and because you did not get angry once this Shabbos, your sentence has been transmuted to a year of exile. You may not spend two nights in the same town except on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Set out now!"
The following morning, Rav Lieber instructed a tailor to sew him a suit of coarse traveling garments and took a wagon to Brod, intending to go from there to Austria where no one knew him. He arrived in Brod on Erev Shabbos, made his way to the local Jew in charge of giving people a place to stay and was assigned to spend Shabbos with the uncouth Jew in charge of the beis kevaros.
After enduring a terrible Shabbos night, Rav Lieber went to the local shul that was headed by Rav Ephraim, a son of Rav Tzvi Hirsh Ashkenazi (the Chacham Tzvi) and a brother of Rav Yaakov Emden. During davening, Rav Ephraim noticed Rav Lieber crouching near to the oven and recognized him immediately.
"With my authority as rav of this town," he commanded him, "I hereby order you to sit in the mizrach (the most honorable location)."
After calling him up for shlishi during Kerias HaTorah, Rav Ephraim took Rav Lieber home and honored him like a king. However, Rav Lieber felt as if he was sitting on shpilkes (pins and needles). Is this how he was supposed to be spending his galus?
"Please hurry and bentch," he implored his host at shalosh seudos. "I have to leave Brod immediately.
"What is the hurry?" inquired Rav Efraim.
"I am in galus and cannot stay in one place for more than one night!" he replied.
Suddenly Eliyahu HaNavi appeared with good tidings.
"Yom leshanah!" he told Rav Lieber. "Your one day of galus has been counted as a full year and you are free to go home whenever you wish."
Rav Ephraim was overjoyed to have the privilege of hiring an elegant coach and sending his distinguished guest back to Berditchev.

Whenever the Baal Shem Tov visited Berditchev during his travels throughout Poland and the Ukraine, he always insisted on staying at Rav Lieber's.
"Rav Lieber is unique!" he used to say. "While there are a number of Tzaddikim who merit Gilui Eliyahu, by Rav Lieber it is the opposite – Eliyahu merits the Gilui of Rav Lieber!"
Rav Lieber's wife passed away in his old age, and one of his young nieces agreed to marry him on condition that she be blessed with righteous offspring; they named their son Yaakov.
None of Rav Lieber's descendants achieved his fame and renown. This is because Rav Lieber was once asked by Heaven what he preferred – to have sons and grandsons whose fame would spread far and wide, or to contribute a portion of his merit to speed the Moshiach's arrival and Rav Lieber chose the second option. Thus even though this son, Rav Yankele, became the son-in-law of Rav Yechiel of Mikolaiv, one of the Baal Shem Tov's great talmidim, he never achieved his father's immortal fame.
Although Rav Lieber always revered the Baal Shem Tov, he never became his talmid or followed his path of Chassidus. His awe of the Baal Shem Tov increased dramatically after the Baal Shem Tov's passing when the Megalleh Amukos, who appeared every night to study with Rav Lieber, suddenly stopped coming. Concerned, Rav Lieber sent his older son, Rav Yechiel, to the Megalleh Amukos' grave in Krakow to inquire what happened.
"Since the Baal Shem Tov's passing, the yeshivah shel ma'alah has closed down for thirty days," the Megalleh Amukos told him." "It is from there that I get the Torah I study with your father."
Rav Lieber then drew closer to Chassidus, mentioning its wisdom in his Shabbos drashos each Shabbos. Through these teachings, the Jews of Berditchev became receptive to its ideas when talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov, including Rav Leib Sarahs and Rav Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye, began passing through, and by the time Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev arrived in 5545/1785, it was easy for him to create a major Chassidic metropolis. By then, Berditchev had a thriving kehillah of about 2,000 Jews who comprised seventy-five percent of the town's population.
The kehillah reached its highpoint in 5621/1861 when its 46,683 strong community was the second largest in the Russian Empire and the only major town of the empire with a Jewish majority.
Rav Lieber enjoyed an extremely long life, passing away in 5531/1770, aged 104, during a violent plague which was killing so many that survivors were afraid to bury them according to halacha and interred them in mass graves.
"Great destruction has been decreed on the community," declared Rav Lieber. "I hereby accept death upon myself instead!"
Calling four people to him, he promised them a place in Olam Haba if they would perform all the customs of interment on him and bury him properly instead of throwing him into a mass grave. He then passed away and the plague abruptly ceased.
May Rav Lieber's memory be a blessing.

Zecher Tzadik VKadosh Livracha. Zechusoi Yagen Aleinu.


Zecher Tzadikim U'Kadoshim Livracha Zchusom Yagein Aleinu V'al Kul Yisrael. Amen!!!

May the Light of the Holy Tzaddikim Grow And Grow Until The Dawn Of Day. Amen.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Elie Wiesel "Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, the Hasidic Protest"

Yorzeit of Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev author of the Kedushas Levi

Today the 25th of Tishrei is the Yahrzeit of the Berditchever Rav, Levi Yitzchak Derbarmdigger author of the Kedushas Levi ZY"A

From the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi

The Passing of the Berditchever

When Rav Yitzchak of Neschiz married the Berditchever's granddaughter, the Berditchever said that under no circumstances could he promise to support the young couple for more than four years. This was quite a surprise to all, since it was customary to support a young couple for longer. It was only when the four-year period was over that everything became clear. At that time, Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev passed away.1

Not long before the Berditchever's passing, a wealthy Jew living in Berditchev was involved in a dispute with Rav Levi Yitzchak. This wealthy man had invited the Rav Yechiel Michel of Rachov (another tradition says that he was from Morchov) to serve as a rav in Berditchev. When the Rachover arrived, the townspeople were certain he and Rav Levi Yitzchak, who currently served as rav in official capacity, would clash in a difference of opinion.

It seemed that things might come to a head at a bris to which both rabbis had been invited. Since the Berditchever had decreed that all circumcisions were to be conducted in the shul to honor Eliyahu HaNavi, they brought the baby there for the bris. The shamash misunderstood his instructions and instead of inviting just one of the rabbis to the bris, he invited both of them, the Rachover and the Berditchever, to the Bris.

Both rabbis lived close to the shul, one to the right of the building and one to the left, and both set out for the bris at about the same time and ended up arriving simultaneously in front of the shul. This was their first meeting face to face in Berditchev, and each stood at the doorway, waiting to allow the other to enter first. They stood there in silence for some time until finally one of the guests came out and said, "Let the Berditchever go in first since he was the rabbi here before," and so the Berdicthever entered the shul first.

After the bris, the two rabbis parted ways, but it was clear from this incident that the Berditchever respected the Rachover as a great individual. Theirs was a relationship where reproof was out in the open while their precious friendship was kept hidden from the public eye. Nonetheless, the local populace knew of their affection for each other.

When the Berditchever grew ill and bedridden, the Rachover also took ill. The Berditchever passed away that night, and the funeral was scheduled for the next day. That morning the Rachover called over his son Rav Asher and chastised him for concealing the news that the Berditchever had passed away. "Why didn't anyone tell me that the rav has passed away?" he said. "In any case, I knew it in my own way."

They admitted to him that indeed the Berditchever had left this world. The Rachover asked his son to tell Rav Yisrael of Pikov, the Berditchever's son, that when they carried the bier the funeral procession should pass by his home since he had urgent matters to tell the Berditchever. His son promised, and when the funeral procession passed by, he descended from his sickbed and approached the Berditchever's bier. He whispered into Rav Levi Yitzchak ear, speaking at length. None of what he said was audible to anyone except for the last words he spoke, a quote from a verse: "Count for yourself seven weeks" (Devarim 16:9). Seven weeks to the day that the Berditchever passed away the Rachover rav left this world as well.3

There is a tradition from the Maggid of Petriva and Rav Yisrael of Vizhnitz that Rav Levi Yitzchak passed away right after Sukkos. They related that the Berditchever grew weak after Yom Kippur, and his condition was life-threatening. He prayed that he might live a little longer so that he would merit to fulfill the mitzvah of waving the four species, which he yearned and waited for all year long. His prayers were answered and he lived until Isru Chag (the day after Sukkos). He passed away on the night of the twenty-fifth of Tishrei.4

When news spread of his passing, one of the chassidim of Rav Baruch of Mezibuzh rushed to tell his Rebbe the news of the Berditchever's passing. Rav Baruch was known to criticize Rav Levi Yitzchak's ways, and the chassid thought he was bringing "good" news. Instead, Rav Baruch practically fainted and began to cry and wail in distress.

He admonished the harbinger of such terrible news. "Don't think that when I spoke against Rav Levi Yitzchak I did so in order to diminish his stature or blemish his honor! Rav Levi Yitzchak rose to the loftiest levels, to the highest spiritual realms above that of even the ministering angels, and I was afraid they would harm him in their jealousy. Therefore I used trickery and guile to hide my intentions and pretended to belittle and mock his holy ways to silence their jealous accusations."5

When Rebbe Nachman of Breslov talked about the passing of Rav Levi Yitzchak, he said, "Even the average individual should feel the loss of a Tzaddik such as Rav Levi Yitzchak. Everyone now feels that there is something lacking in the world. There is a depressed mood everywhere. One might feel it in his business, which no longer runs as smoothly as before. Another might feel it in his bones, which somehow seem displaced. If your eyes are truly open, you will see that world has become dark, for a great light has been extinguished in the world. A great candle's light has been snuffed out and the world has filled with a great darkness."6

"The Berditchever said before he passed away that when he arrived in the next world he would not rest nor give any other Tzaddik respite rest until he succeeded in bringing Mashiach." Thus spoke Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apta and Mezibuzh on the day he left this world. Before he passed away, the Apter Rav cried and wailed about our bitter exile. Why does Mashiach ben Yishai tarry so long? That is when he mentioned the Berditchever's promise. "However," he concluded, "when he ascended on high, they showed him such lofty spiritual levels and engaged him in such magnificent supernal chambers that he grew distracted that he forgot his mission.

"I, however, will not forget!"7


1. Zichron Tov, Mei'Avodas Hashem 13, p. 16.

2. See the story in Vayeira entitled "In Honor of Eliyahu" above and the tradition of Rav Shalom Gutman of Yas that corroborates this ruling of Rav Levi Yitzchak.

3. Kisvei Rav Yoshe 32, p. 144; Eser Oros 3:40.

4. Toldos Kedushas Levi (Munkacz) 8:103; see also Sichos HaRan 196.

5. Toldos Kedushas Levi (Munkacz) 8:108; Eser Oros 3:22.

6. Toldos Kedushas Levi (Munkacz) 8:105; see also Sichos HaRan 196.

7. Otzar HaSippurim, vol. 18, p. 25.

From the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi on Channukah

Kedushah Shelishis

Why There Are Eight Days of Chanukah

The poskim ask,1 why are there eight days of Chanukah if the miracle of the Menorah actually happened only on seven days?2

%%%[Since they had enough oil to last for one day, the first day that the Menorah was lit was not part of the miracle.]

It seems to me that the first day was instituted as a holiday to offer praise for the miracle of being saved from the hands of the Greeks, when Hashem "handed over the mighty into the hands of the weak, and the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and those who plotted against us into the hands of those who toil in Your Torah" (from the Al HaNissim prayer), and the other seven days were instituted to praise Him for the miracle [of the oil]. Thus the mitzvah of the first day is to commemorate the physical salvation and the victory of the royal house of Chashmonai. Then they found just one flask of oil, enough to light the Menorah [in the Beis HaMikdash] for one day, and a miracle occurred [and the lights lasted another seven days]. In other words, the Sages instituted days of praise and thanksgiving for two things: for the miracle of their salvation and for the miracle of the Menorah, as we just explained. And the praise of the first day is for the salvation and the other seven days for the miracle of the Menorah.

If the reason for instituting the first day as a holiday was to give praise for the salvation and not for the miracle of the Menorah, why do we light the menorah on the first day? Why did the Sages institute the candle lighting also on that day? It seems to me that the reason for this is because after seeing the miracle of the Menorah, they realized that it was the merit of lighting the Menorah that saved their lives. Their fulfillment of the mitzvah of the Menorah protected them. To commemorate this, they instituted the lighting of the Chanukah menorah on the first day, showing that a miracle was done for them and their lives were saved in the merit of the Menorah.

Also, this miracle occurred through the royal house of Chashmonai, who were kohanim and Levite leaders descended from Aharon, whose offering at chanukas haMizbei'ach, the inauguration of the Altar in the Mishkan, was the lighting of the Menorah, as the Midrash on parashas Beha'aloscha explains.3 This is also why they instituted the mitzvah to light the Chanukah lights on the first day — not to commemorate the miracle of the Menorah, but rather to commemorate the salvation, which occurred at the hands of Aharon's descendants.

It seems to me that the reason the lights of the Beis HaMikdash were so precious to Hashem that He performed a miracle through them, and the reason that in their merit the Jews were saved, is because candles are always used for holy purposes, even outside the Beis HaMikdash. We light candles on Shabbos, for example, and in shul, unlike the other offerings [which could be brought only in the Beis HaMikdash]. Since we continue to serve Hashem with candles even after the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, they are precious to HaKadosh Baruch Hu more than any other offerings. Even when the wicked kingdom of Greece came and interrupted the service in the Beis HaMikdash [and prevented Bnei Yisrael from lighting the Menorah], surely Bnei Yisrael still served Hashem with the Shabbos candles and lit candles in their houses of prayer, These Shabbos candles and the candles in shul went up before the Blessed Creator, the awakening that these mitzvos aroused brought about the Jews' salvation.

We can explain this with a parable. When a child does not see his father, he does not yearn to see him so much. But as soon as his father enters the courtyard, and the child can see him through the window but someone prevents him from going to him, their yearning for each other reach a peak, since they can see each other but are prevented from being together. Similarly, when the Greeks entered the Beis HaMikdash Courtyard, all the offerings and sacrifices ceased, but it was the candles of the Menorah [that Hashem missed the most]. Since the Jews still lit Shabbos candles and kindled the candles in the shuls — the only offerings that could be done outside the Temple — they rose and came before HaKadosh Baruch Hu's Throne of Glory, and since the wicked Greeks prevented us from lighting the candles [of the Menorah] that were part of a service performed inside the Beis HaMikdash, the offering of the candles [on Shabbos and in shul] intensely awakened divine mercy [because the other offerings were completely interrupted, like a father and son who are separated and cannot see each other, but there were still remnants of the service of the Menorah lighting, because there were still candles being lit outside the Beis HaMikdash, so this caused Hashem greater anguish, like a father and son who are separated yet can still see each other].

This is why the miracle happened through the candles and not through the other forms of service. Even though the Greeks had decreed against observing Shabbos,4 and they probably forbade lighting Shabbos candles as well, surely the Jews lit them in secret, just as they observed Shabbos itself in secret. Since these candles roused divine mercy and brought about the salvation, the miracle of Chanukah occurred with the candles.

Perhaps this is the meaning of the midrash on parashas Beha'aloscha that the Ramban cites:5 "Go say to Aharon, 'Your [offering] is greater than theirs [than the other tribal leaders who donated offerings for the inauguration of the Altar], because the offerings and sacrifices will continue only as long as the Beis HaMikdash stands, but your candles are forever." The Ramban comments:

But the candles of the Menorah are also not lit. Their service also ceased with the destruction of our Beis HaMikdash, due to our numerous sins! In my opinion, the mitzvah continues with Shabbos candles and the candles we light in shul, which have such sanctity when lit that it is forbidden to light other candles with their light.6

Furthermore, the Ramban writes that this midrash also hints at the Chanukah candles [that the candle lighting of the Temple continues on in the mitzvah of the Chanukah lighting as well]. Though in Moshe's time, this mitzvah did not yet exist, according to the Ramban, the entire Torah encompasses allusions for all generations [and not just the events described explicitly therein], as he explains with regard to the six days of Creation and the stories of the patriarchs. Study his holy opinion there at length.7 According to my explanation, when the Midrash says that the candles are forever, this refers to the candles that we light in shul and the Shabbos candles, which did exist in Moshe's time and would exist for eternity. Furthermore, I wrote that these two mitzvos, the Shabbos candles and the candles lit in shul, caused the miracle with the Menorah. The Ramban's opinion and my own weak opinion both lead to the same conclusion, that this is why the mitzvah of the Menorah was precious to Hashem more than the other forms of avodah, since it lived on even after the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash [through the mitzvos of the candles]. Thus in the merit of the Menorah the Jews were saved and a miracle was done for them [and therefore we commemorate this miracle on the first day of Chanukah as well].


1. See Beis Yosef, Orach Chaim 670.

2. See Kedushas Levi, Derushim on Chanukah, s.v. "nireh," and s.v. "yadua," where Rav Levi Yitzchak gives alternate answers to this question.

3. Bamidbar Rabbah 15:3.

4. See Megillas Antiochus.

5. On the verse "Speak to Aharon and say to him, 'When you kindle the lamps…'" (Bamidbar 8:2).

6. It is forbidden to light other candles with the lights of the synagogue. See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 154:14. As for the Shabbos candles, the Shulchan Aruch does permit lighting other candles from them (Orach Chaim 674:2). See, however, Mishnah Berurah (9) and Sha'ar HaTziyun (8) there, who forbid it.

7. See Ramban on Bereishis 2:3, 12:6, 26:1, 26:20, 32:4, 47:28.