11 Cheshvan 5782 / Sunday, October 17, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
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The Hidden Lights of Chanukah    

The Hidden Lights of Chanukah

Chanukah lights are not just ordinary lights or a candle burning. They're full of secrets, full of mystery, full of the deepest depths, more than what meets the eye...


Compiled and edited by Ziv Ritchie
Every person has two functions. One function is of ‘me and the world,’ and the other is ‘me and me’ and ‘me and G-d.’
There are two kind of relationships between people. There is you and me in the world, and then there is just you and me without the world. This is beyond the world, deeper than the world.
How do you know how much you love a person? Are you aware of the world when you are talking to them? If there is still a world, sure you are close, but real true closeness is when suddenly the world stops.
Reb Nachman says that, when I daven [pray], there is me and the world and G-d. But then, slowly, as I continue to daven even more, there is just me and G-d. Then I go higher and higher; I stop to exist. There is only G-d. The deepest secret is how do I keep it all together.
You know what happens when people go to shul [synagogue] on Yom Kippur? Why doesn’t the effect last even five minutes after Yom Kippur is over? Because on Yom Kippur, when I’m so close to G-d, it is just me and G-d, but the minute there is a world, G-d disappears. Let’s say I love my wife very much when I am with her. But then I walk out onto the street, and already I forget that she exists.
How do you get it all together?
How do you get it all together? Here I want you to know something. The Greeks offer us a beautiful world, but that’s all. Yiddishkeit basically offers us a world; there is only one G-d. There is just me and G-d. So I want you to know something - we lost our children because children want the world. Sure they want to think sometimes that there is no world, just you and me, you and G-d. But where is the beautiful world?
So on Chanukah, the Hashmonaim really got it together. They brought in Chanukah lights. Everybody knows Chanukah is mehadrin min hamehadrin, beautiful and more beautiful, and we kindle lights in the house. The house is a place where I’m just alone, where I’m alone with my children. I’m kindling lights by the door and I’m shining into the world. Because the real truth is, the world doesn’t tear you away from G-d or from the Torah.
The time for Chanukah lights is at night. Basically, the night is a time when people can get so close, because during the night the world doesn’t exist so much. Though there is still a world.
A hidden light
The Hashmonaim say, “Gevalt, Master of the world, let me kindle the Chanukah lights!” Do you know what is so special about the lights? You are able to see them, and yet it is “Ohr Haganuz,” a hidden light that you know is not an ordinary light or just a candle burning. It is full of secrets, full of mystery, full of the deepest depths. It means that even while I see something, I’m always aware that there is something deeper, so much deeper, the part where the world doesn’t reach.
When I love someone very much, I see them, they are there, but I also know there is so much more.
* * *
Excerpt from “Rebbe Nachman Says”, The Teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev as Taught by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach z”tl
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s books are available online at the Breslev Israel store.

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