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See The (Hidden) Light

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 15/12/2019

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See The (Hidden) Light

For each Yom Tov, there is a parallel Masechta. Purim has Megilla, Yom KippurYoma, PesachPesachim and so on. Chanuka, on the other hand, is addressed in only a couple of pages in Masechta Shabbos.[1] We are left to wonder why Chanuka doesnt have its own Masechta?[2]


The Gemara[3] teaches that when Hashem looked at the and and saw their actions were perverse, He hid the light He created on the first day for the Tzadikim in the future. This light is known as the .[4] With this we can grasp on a deeper level as according to the rules of Dikduk a  can change the tense of a word (known as the" ). Thus, this can now be understood as the that is stored away for Tzadikim.[5]


With this light, we see things as they are in reality. Before Adam sinned, this light permeated existence as the clarity of Hashem was so clear in the world.[6] An example to help us understand this is that today we say a Bracha on food in order to recognize Hashem. However, back then, they didnt have to say a Bracha because when they saw, for example, an apple, it was so clear that it was from Hashem.


For the first 36 hours of the worlds existence, we had this lightfrom the time Adam was created on Friday until Motzai Shabbos.[7] Although he sinned on Friday, the light wasnt removed until after Shabbos. This explains why it doesnt say in regard to Shabbos since there was no as there was only light.[8] 


The Rokeach[9] links the 36 candles of Chanuka to the 36 hours we had the . In fact, he calculates that it says , , terms of light36 times in the Torah as a hint to the candles of Chanuka. The 36 candles also correspond to the 36 Masechtas of [10]Shas, that which is hidden. Additionally, it also connects to the 36 hidden . Incidentally, is derived from the term , covered, hidden since the is the light that is hidden.


                        This light of Chanuka which is the light of the is the future light of Moshiach[11] and as it says ... , there I shall cause the power of kingship to sprout for Dovid, I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.[12] Is it any wonder that forms an acronym for ?[13] An additional allusion to this can be found on the letters of the Dreidel,,,which yields a sum of 358, the same as ? R Pinchas Koritzer informs us that at the time of lighting, the is revealed.[14]


In the home of R Shlomo Kluger, the once caught fire. Although it was quickly extinguished, a small burn mark, nevertheless, remained. Contrary to the reaction of many, R Shlomo Kluger was elated since now Chanuka, the days of the , could linger on in his home even after Chanuka was over.


Since the light of Chanukawhich comes at the darkest time of the yearis the light of Moshiach, we see references of the two Moshiachs[15] entering impurity in the Parshiyos of Chanuka. The Pasuk [16] can also be understood as entering the impurity, . This same terminology is found in conjunction with Yehuda as well [17], which refers to . At the outset of the episode with Yehuda and Tamar we already see allusions to Moshiach in .[18] has a Gematria of 70 referring to the 70 years of the life of . he was 30 (Gematria of ) when he became king. , are the first letters of . refers to the , the Beis Hamikdash.


This pattern of Moshiach coming from impure roots[19] appears many times in the Torahthe story of the daughters of ,  and ,  and . It is also in the incident of and [20] since they gave birth to who later married . In fact, spelling out -, , , we arrive at a total of 566, the equivalent of . Dina being placed in a [21]boxthat which is concealed is symbolic of the , which is concealed.


We are taught that Yosef corresponds to Chanuka. One way we see this is that it states , from beauty comes forth.[22] Yosef is the only man in the Torah given the description , handsome form and appearance.[23] His beauty is the opposite of the external, false beauty of . Indeed, originates from , beauty. Yosef is called . Inserting the letter  into  we get ! Furthermore,  is identical in Gematria to , 156.


Yosef characterizes the trait of , which refers to the Bris. literally means foundation, that which is hidden. Similarly, the Bris is covered, hidden. Additionally, Chazal teach that an doesnt affect the offspring of Yosef.[24] This is just as the is that which is hidden.


   Chanuka is closely associated with (as mentioned above), that which is not written. This is because it stems from such a high place, a place of beyond . It therefore cant be written. For this reason, it doesnt have its own Masechta.[25]

Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R Mordechai Friedlander Ztzl for close to five years. He received Semicha from R Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] It is only in the chapter of . It is specifically there because Chanukah is all about lighting candles.

[2] Shavuos also doesnt have its own Mesachta. This is because since it is Torah, all of Torah is its own Mesachta and it cannot be bound to a Mesachta.

[3] Chagigah 12a.

[4] We light oil, . The unique quality of oil is that it rises to the top just as the is that which is lofty, sitting at the top. Rearranging, the letters of we get , and all alluding to this idea.

[5] Breishis 1:3. Peninim Mishulchan HaGra, Breishis, 1:4.

[6] The Gemara (Nida 30b) says there is a , a light lit on the head of a child in his mothers womb. He sees from one end of the world to the other (see Chagiga 12a with the same terminology in reference to the ). That is the . The 25th of KislevChanukais exactly nine months prior to the 25th of Elul, which is when the world was created. Chanuka is the beginning of the pregnancy of the child in its mothers womb with the .

[7] Interesting to note, the reason we say at Havdalah is because fire was only created after Shabbos (Pesachim 54a) when the was removed when man was confronted with darkness for the first time. He rubbed two stones together in an attempt to produce fire for light (Breishis Rabba 11:2).

[8] Although it is a spiritual light, it has an impact on physical existence. Thus, during the period the world had this light, there was no darkness.

[9] Taamei HaMinhagim, Chanuka, p. 366.

[10] R Pinchas Koritzer among others remarked that each light is one Mesachta. Each light includes all the , and  on that Mesachta. Therefore, on the first day of Chanuka we should have in mind Mesachta Brachos and ask Hashem for help to fulfill all the subjects of that MesachtaShema, Maariv, Brachos and so on. The same should be done on the second day with Eruvin and Shabbos ( , Chanuka , 7 s.v. ).

[11] Bnei Yissaschar, Kislev Teves, 2:16.

[12] Tehillim 132:17.

[13] Emunas Itecha p. 144. It is also the first letters of .

[14] Taamai HaMinhagim, p. 365. The Parshiyos that coincide with Chanuka, and , also alludes to the . In we have the section of Yehuda and Tamarthe origins of Moshiachwhich is the light of Chanuka. In we have the brothers of Yosef who were unaware it was Yosef until his identity was revealed (in ).

[15] The reason for the two Moshiachs is that is to fight the nations and is to learn (see Bnei Yissaschar, Kislev Teves 2:25).

[16] 39:1. See Breishis Rabba 85:1.      

[17] Breishis 38:1. From this incident, Peretz emerges (38:29), where Moshiach stems from (Lecha Dodi).

[18] Breishis 38:1.

[19] It is because he originates from impure roots that he can reach even the lowest of Jews.

[20] This idea follows the concept of , first it was dark and afterwards light (Shabbos 77b). The name indicates his impurity. means shoulder and is physicality. is the beginning of physicality as the shoulder is the first part of the body (that is, after the neck which connects to the headthe higher world). This shows that he was completely subjected to materialism.

[21] Breishis 32:23, Rashi

[22] Tehillim 50:2. Yosef is called (37:3), a contraction of ' , seven branches, as there were seven branches on the Menorah of old. Additionally, has the same Gematria as , 207.

[23] Breishis 39:6.

[24] Breishis 49:22.

[25] Bnei Yissaschar, Kislev Teves 2:21. Yoma 29a.

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