Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Magic of Light, The Last Day of Chanukah

אור or, light

Isn't light among the first things G-d created?
Genesis Chapter 1 בְּרֵאשִׁית
א בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ. 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
ב וְהָאָרֶץ, הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ, וְחֹשֶׁךְ, עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם; וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים, מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם. 2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.
ג וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר. 3 And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light.
ד וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאוֹר, כִּי-טוֹב; וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹהִים, בֵּין הָאוֹר וּבֵין הַחֹשֶׁךְ. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
ה וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָאוֹר יוֹם, וְלַחֹשֶׁךְ קָרָא לָיְלָה; וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר, יוֹם אֶחָד. {פ} 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. {P}

It's certainly the first thing labeled as "good."  Try to picture G-d sorting through the chaos in the first stage of creation.  Have you ever tried to find something in a dark closet?  You need light to know what you're feeling.  Of course, that only works if you've already learned in the light, with vision.  I one saw a movie about someone blink who gained sight as an adult after surgery.  The person was totally confused and had no idea what the things were he could see.  Light wasn't his means to comprehend.  He needed to feel everything with this hands.

Apparently, G-d decided that we should be able to learn via light and vision.  אור or, light is necessary for us as Jews.  חנוכה Chanukah is from the same linguistic root as חינוך chinuch education.  The Jewish People have always believed in universal education.  The Levi tribe wasn't allocated land, because they were supposed to be dispersed among the other tribes to teach the Jewish Religion. 

There is also a mitzvah for everyone to write a Torah.  Writing is a crucial way to learn.  This isn't some holy scroll to be hidden in a safe, away from harm.  It's supposed to be the book you carry with you to study whenever possible.  Doing one's own writing, copying is very important.  I have no doubt that the use of workbooks, instead of copying from the board is a bad way to teach.  There must be a kinesthetic aspect of learning.  When we copy and write something we must concentrate on the content and think of what we're writing.  This writing of the Torah should be a very long process.  The more we study, the stronger our understanding gets.

It's like the lighting of the Chanukiya, Chanukah Menorah.  Each night the lights grow stronger.

The more efforts we make, the more candles we light, the more good we will have.  It's a matter of doing, not just thinking and planning.  Judaism is a religion of action, not just theory.

More on the linguistics of חנוכה Chanukah   is חנוכת הבית Chanukat HaBayit, the dedication of the home, building, institution.  There's a ceremony many do when moving into a new home.

We pray that speedily in our days, there will be the חנוכת הבית Chanukat HaBayit, for the בית-המקדש Beit HaMikdash, The Holy Temple.  I don't believe it will just drop from the sky.  We must build it!  Have an Enlightening Chanukah!


David Tzohar said...

I recommend that you watch the shiur that Rav Mordechai Eilon gave in Ra'anana last week( it's up on You Tube) where he explains that the light of Channukah is connected to the light that was created on the first day which is different from the light of the sun ,moon and the stars. The shiur is more than an hour long but it's worth it.

Batya said...

David, thanks, I'll give it a try when I have time.