Opening the gates of Holiness

We often talk about the history and the mitzwoth involved in Hannukah, but we rarely really look to see what Hannukah can teach us today.

I'd like to relate a very simple idea that can change our Hannukah experience forever.

The Beit HaMikdash, we are taught, is a model of the world. More importantly, it's also a model of a person. The Zohar and other Kabbalistic texts go into great detail explaining how each functioning part of the Mikdash represents an integral organ of the human body.

In light of this piece of knowledge, it behooves us to reexamine the miracle of Hannukah.

The Greeks devastated our culture, outlawed some of the most foundational mitzwoth and violated the most Holy place in all of creation, the Beit HaMikdash. Violated it utterly and wholly. Idols and everything else impure were so thoroughly invested in that Holy place that it seemed like it could never be returned to its Holy status. It could never be pure again.

The miracle of Hannukah was that we were able to remove all of that filth and light the menorah with a pure untainted light. Halachah says that it would have been permissible to light impure oil in the menorah, when the Mikdash was in such a state, but the Jewish people so wanted to be pure themselves, that they insisted on seeking out pure oil. Chazal teach that when one seeks to be Holy, Heaven opens its doors to them.

Hannukah is a special occasion like no other. On Hannukah, just watching the Hannukah candles burn and truly desiring to be pure will purify you.

Just as on Hannukah the Mikdash, a model of a person was made pure once more, so too you, no matter how thoroughly impure and filthy you may feel, will be made pure.

What a beautiful Chag HaShem gave us. This is why we say a full Hallel all eight days of Hannukah. This is why there is no outright mitzwah to eat a festive meal on Hannukah. It is only if we want to be pure, then we choose for ourselves to make a Holy seudah on Hannukah.

When we choose to be Holy, HaShem opens the door. That's why the Hannukah lights are first and foremost to be placed by the door.


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