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See The (Hidden) Light
For each Yom Tov, there is a
parallel Masechta. Purim has Megilla, Yom Kippur—Yoma, Pesach—Pesachim and so
on. Chanuka, on the other hand, is addressed in only a couple of pages in
We are left to wonder why Chanuka doesn’t have its own Masechta?
teaches that when Hashem looked at the דור המבול and דור הפלגה 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 אור הגנוז.
With this we can grasp on a deeper level יהי אור
ויהי אור as according to the rules of Dikduk aו can change the tense of a
word (known as theוא"ו ההיפוך). Thus, this can now be understood as the אור that is stored away for Tzadikim.
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.
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 didn’t have to say a Bracha
because when they saw, for example, an apple, it was so clear that it was from
For the first 36 hours of the
world’s existence, we had this light—from the time Adam was created on Friday
until Motzai Shabbos.
Although he sinned on Friday, the light wasn’t removed until after Shabbos.
This explains why it doesn’t sayויהי ערב in regard to Shabbos
since there was no ערב as there was only light.
links the 36 candles of Chanuka to the 36 hours we had the אור הגנוז. In fact, he calculates that it says אור, מאור, נר—terms of light—36 times in the Torah as a hint to the candles
of Chanuka. The 36 candles also correspond to the 36 Masechtas of Shas,
תורה שבעל פה—that which is hidden. Additionally, it also connects to the 36 hidden צדיקים. Incidentally, כסלו is derived from the term כיסוי, covered, hidden since
the אור הגנוז is the light that is hidden.
light of Chanuka which is the light of the אור הגנוז is the future light of
and as it says ...לדוד ערכתי נר למשיחי, there I shall cause the
power of kingship to sprout for Dovid, I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
Is it any wonder that משיח forms an acronym for מצות שמונת ימי חנוכה?
An additional allusion to this can be found on the letters of the Dreidel—ג,נ,ה,ש—which yields a sum of 358, the same as משיח? R’ Pinchas Koritzer informs us that at the time of lighting,
the אור הגנוז is revealed.
In the home of R’ Shlomo
Kluger, the נר חנוכה 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 אור הגנוז, could linger on in his home even after Chanuka was over.
Since the light of Chanuka—which
comes at the darkest time of the year—is the light of Moshiach, we see
references of the two Moshiach’s
entering impurity in the Parshiyos of Chanuka. The Pasuk ויוסף הורד מצרימה can also be understood as משיח בן יוסף entering the impurity, ערות הארץ. This same terminology
is found in conjunction with Yehuda as well—וירד
יהודה, which refers to משיח בן דוד. At the outset of the episode with Yehuda and Tamar we already
see allusions to Moshiach in איש עדלמי ושמו
עדלמי—ע has a Gematria of 70 referring to the 70
years of the life of דוד—ד. ל—he was 30 (Gematria of ל) when he became king. מ,י are the first letters of מלך ישראל. חירה refers to the בית הבחירה, the Beis Hamikdash.
This pattern of Moshiach
coming from impure roots
appears many times in the Torah—the story of the daughters of לוט, רות and בעז, יהודה and תמר. It is also in the incident of שכם and דינה since they gave birth to אסנת who later married יוסף. In fact, spelling out דינה—-דלת, יוד, נון, הא we arrive at a total of
566, the equivalent of משיח בן יוסף. Dina being placed in a box—that
which is concealed is symbolic of the אור הגנוז, which is concealed.
We are taught that Yosef
corresponds to Chanuka. One way we see this is that it states מציון מכלל יופי, from ציון beauty comes forth.
Yosef is the only man in the Torah given the description יפה תאר ויפה מראה, handsome form and appearance.
His beauty is the opposite of the external, false beauty of יון. Indeed, יון originates from יפת, beauty. Yosef is called יוסף
Inserting the letterצ intoיון we get ציון! Furthermore,יוסף is identical in Gematria to ציון, 156.
Yosef characterizes the trait
of יסוד, which refers to the Bris. יסוד literally means
foundation, that which is hidden. Similarly, the Bris is covered, hidden.
Additionally, Chazal teach that an עין הרע doesn’t affect the
offspring of Yosef.
This is just as the אור הגנוז is that which is hidden.
Chanuka is closely associated
with תורה שבעל פה (as mentioned above), that which is not written. This is
because it stems from such a high place, a place of beyond—אור
therefore can’t be written. For this reason, it doesn’t have its own Masechta.
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’
Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l 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.
It is only in the chapter of במה מדליקין. It
is specifically there because Chanukah is all about lighting candles.
Shavuos also doesn’t 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.
We light oil, שמן. The unique quality of oil is
that it rises to the top just as the אור הגנוז is
that which is lofty, sitting at the top. Rearranging, the letters of השמן we
get משנה, נשמה and
alluding to this idea.
The Gemara (Nida 30b) says there is a נר דלוק על
light lit on the head of a child in his mother’s womb. He sees from one end of
the world to the other (see Chagiga 12a with the same terminology in reference
to the אור הגנוז).
That נר דלוק is
the אור הגנוז.
The 25th of Kislev—Chanuka—is 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 mother’s womb with the אור הגנוז.
Interesting to note, the reason we say
בורא מאורי האש at Havdalah is because
fire was only created after Shabbos (Pesachim 54a) when the אור הגנוז 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).
Although it is a spiritual light, it has an impact on
physical existence. Thus, during the period the world had this light, there was
Taamei HaMinhagim, Chanuka, p. 366.
R’ Pinchas Koritzer among others remarked that each
light is one Mesachta. Each light includes all the סוגיות, השפעות and
אורותon 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 Mesachta—Shema, Maariv, Brachos and so on. The same should be done on the
second day with Eruvin and Shabbos (שיחות התחזקות,
Chanuka תשנח, 7
Bnei Yissaschar, Kislev Teves, 2:16.
Emunas Itecha p. 144. It is also the first letters of
מדליקין שמונת ימי חנוכה.
Taamai HaMinhagim, p. 365. The Parshiyos that
coincide with Chanuka, וישב and מקץ, also alludes to the אור הגנוז. In
have the section of Yehuda and Tamar—the origins of Moshiach—which is the light
of Chanuka. In מקץ we have the brothers of Yosef who were unaware it
was Yosef until his identity was revealed (in ויגש).
The reason for the two Moshiach’s is that משיח בן יוסף is
to fight the nations and משיח בן דוד is to learn (see Bnei Yissaschar,
Kislev Teves 2:25).
39:1. See Breishis Rabba 85:1.
Breishis 38:1. From this incident, Peretz emerges
(38:29), where Moshiach stems from—על יד איש בן פרצי
It is because he originates from impure roots that he
can reach even the lowest of Jews.
This idea follows the concept of דברישא חשוכא
first it was dark and afterwards light (Shabbos 77b). The name שכם בן חמור
indicates his impurity. שכם means shoulder and חמור is physicality. שכם is
the beginning of physicality as the shoulder is the first part of the body
(that is, after the neck which connects to the head—the higher world). This
shows that he was completely subjected to materialism.
Tehillim 50:2. Yosef is called בן זקנים (37:3), a contraction of ז' קנים,
seven branches, as there were seven branches on the Menorah of old.
Additionally, זקנים has the same Gematria as אור,
Bnei Yissaschar, Kislev Teves 2:21. Yoma 29a.