tradition cited by the Rokeach
sheds Chanukah light and tantalizes at the same time.
First a cryptic gemara:
said:Why was Esther compared to the dawn? To tell you
that just as the dawn is the end of the whole night, so
is the story of Esther the end of all the miracles. But
there is Chanukah? We refer to those that may be written
wonders why Purim - a hidden miracle, can be expressed
while Chanukah - an open miracle, transcends words?
כתב הרב הקדוש בעל הרוקח ז״ל:
תקנו ל״ו נרות כנגד האור הראשון, ששימש לאדם הראשון ל״ו
כמו שאמרו רז״ל והוא בירושלמי ברכות
פרקח׳ הלכה ה׳
וכתב עוד שבפסוק
״וירא אלוקים את האור כי טוב״,
יש על הט׳ ד׳ תגין,
להורות ד ׳פעמים ט׳ היינו רמ זאל ל״ו נרות של חנוכה
thirty six candles [1+2+..+8]connect us to a hidden
light that once existed in the world - which Adam used
for 36 hours. This is alluded by the four crowned letter
tes that appears in the verse And Elokim saw the light
that it was Good [tov] - these four crowns are a
multiplier on the tes to allude to the 36 candles of
Much has been
written of this hidden light With it, Adam was able to
see from one end of the world to the other.
Alas, after 36 hours, Adam is driven away from Gan Eden
and this Gan Eden Light can no longer mesh with this
world. It is tucked away for a different stage of
reality. Somehow Chanukah reconnects us to this
light. We seek to understand the spiritual metaphysics
fascinating Sukkos-Chanukah connection is well known to
the scholars. First a famous piece of Talmud that
cites the dispute of how we light: Beis Hillel says we
count up (1,2, ...8) and Beis Shammai says we count down
Shammai maintains: On the first day eight lights are lit
and thereafter they are gradually reduced; but Beis
Hillel says: On the first day one is lit and thereafter
they are progressively increased. 'Ulla said: In the
West [Palestine] two amoraim, R. Jose b. Abin and R.
Jose b. Zebida, differ therein: one maintains, The
reason of Beis Shammai is that it shall correspond to
the days still to come,...
maintains: Beis Shammai's reason is that it shall
correspond to the bullocks of the Festival; whilst Beth
Hillel's reason is that we promote in [matters of]
sanctity but do not reduce.
about Beis Shammai's apparent random citation of the
descending Sukkos bull count [13, 12,11, ...). Is
Judaism only a downer - is there no ascending pattern to
draw Chanukah halacha from - what of Omer or Shabbos?
Why then does Beis Shammai draw his paradigm from Sukkos?
Holy One, Blessed be He: It was your intention to uproot
the eight day festival of Sukkot; however I will give
them the eight days of Chanukah."
celebrated the eight days in joy as chag ha-sukkot in
their remembrance of their troubles before some time on
chag ha-sukkot in the mountains and caves as beasts of
the field. Therefore, with branches of myrtle and
branches of beauty and date palm branches in their
hands, they gave thanks to He who permitted them to
succeed in purifying His Temple. And with a consensus
they established for the entire Jewish nation to
celebrate each year these days. [Macabees, 2:10:6-8
The first Chanukah was commemorated with lulav/esrog as
hoda'ah for ability to reconstitute the Mikdash. It is
clear that the Sukkos-Chanukah connection need be probed
more point: A Halachic nexus between Sukkos and Chanukah
yields an enigmatic contrast.
A sukkah can
not exceed 20 amos [~30-40 feet] height.
explains that the pasuk requires us to know that we are
sitting in a sukkah.
The eye does not naturally focus that high. Ditto for
Chanukah. In both cases, there is a notion of
publicizing the miracle - it is hard to publicize that
which is not naturally seen. And yet a curious dichotomy
emerges with regard to the minimum height:
may not be lower than 10 tefachim while the ideal
placement for the Chanukah menorah is under ten tefachim.
rational basis for this distinction runs as follows. The
ideal vision of man is between the 3-10 tefach range -
and thus would have been the halacha for the sukkah -
save for a Divine override that requires a sukkah to be
called a covering and no covering can be less than
ten tefachim. And from where is this law derived?
AND IT IS
NOT TEN HANDBREADTHS HIGH. Whence do we know this?- It
was stated, the ark [of the covenant] was nine
handbreadths high, and the ark cover one handbreadth,
making a total of ten handbreadths, and it is written,
And there I will meet with thee, and I will speak with
thee from above the ark-cover;
[and it has been taught, R. Jose stated, Neither did
the Shechinah1 ever descend to earth, nor did Moses or
Elijah ever ascend to Heaven,2 as it is written, 'The
heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth hath
He given to the sons of men' .3 But did not the
Shechinah descend to earth? Is it not in fact written,
And the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai?4 - That was
above ten handbreadths [from the summit]. But is it not
written, And His feet shall stand in that day upon the
Mount of Olives?5 - That will be above ten
needs to cover. No covering is less than 10 ten tefachim.
For it constitutes a new domain. An added implication -
the Sukkah, (which represents the clouds of glory) can
not be less than ten tefachim - for the Divine presence
does not rest in directly in this world - the Divine
presence also keeps some distance. Which leads us to
the bomb question - so then why by Chanukah do we light
under ten tefachim
answer in Bnei Yisaschar paves the way to reveal a
little of Chanukah light
דבריו דברי קבלה מפי אליהו ו״ל,
אמר: שהארת המצוה נר חנוכה
הוא מהארת אור הגנוז, וכיוןשנקבע לדורות ברוח הקודש הוא
מפני שידעו שבכל שנה יתגלה האור ההוא
illumination of the mitzvah of the Chanukah candles is
from the illumination of the hidden light and it was
established permanently sinced they knew that every year
at this time, this light would be revealed
Chanukah intersect. They both reveal the manifest
presence of Hashem. The Clouds of Glory that can be seen
but you need
to reach up to get there - and the Shechina will still
be in a different domain. That is the rule.
is the exception to the rule. On Chanukah, the Master of
the Universe allows his Hidden Light to permeate the
deepest darkest places. On Chanukah, the manifest
presence of Hashem happens in the darkest time of the
year and in the darkest time of Jewish History and
within a nation whose mantra is spiritual darkness.
Precisely at that time Hashem comes down and says -
kinderlach I can be found even here. I make myself
available for you. Even when you think that I have
of mine is diagnosed with a dark situation. He is upbeat
and shares with his friends his situation. They want to
do something. This one dusts off his tefillin and this
one - who has not davened for years opens up the siddur
and the other fellows goes to minyan. My friend confides
in me - is this not light in the darkness? What else
could Hashem want from me?
darkness, davka is the hidden light to be revealed. On
Chanukah -the little light'ele teaches us that Hashem
will always be there for us no matter how far we have
strayed - He is there and most accessible davka now.
remarkable Bnei Yisaschar comment teaches us that we
have not seen anything yet:
על כן קראו
לימים האלה חנוכה,
והרגל על הגאולה העחידה,
שאז יתגלה לנו
האור הגנוז בשלימות
called these days Chanukah - which connoted beginning -
for it is the dedication and the accustoming for the
future redemption - which shall then have the hidden
light be revealed in its entirety.
we get a taste of a light that reminds us that best is
yet to come.
A Lichtige Shabbos Chanukah
 From the great Chasidei Ashkenaz, Rav
Eleazar Rokeach (c. 1176 - 1238),
 The basis for this thought appears in
several places in the classi work Bnei Yisaschar.
Any simplifications or overstatements are mine.
 The simple meaning here is that Chanukah
appears after the closing of the Biblical canon
 Vayikra, 23: l'maan yeidu doroseichem ki
basukos hoshavti es Bnei yisrael
 Cf. Tosafos Asara who derives from here
the halacha of the definition of a private