What is the spiritual root
of Hanukah? Why do we light candles, and who were the Maccabim,
There is a root in the
spiritual world for all that exists – a root that initiates and
motivates our behavior, our thoughts, our emotions, and the various
events we experience. Everything that we can possibly imagine.
The wisdom of Kabbalah
describes the enchanted reality as it is revealed to those who have
reached the world of the spirit. Anyone wishing to understand the
course of our lives can reach that world. It offers those who come
to its gates a chance to consciously control their lives, to attain
a supreme delight they have never felt before.
Those who bond with this world
sense it as a complete reality, describing it in our language, just
as we describe our own reality.
If both you and your friend
observe a flower, it's quite possible that each of you will have a
different impression of it in your minds. For instance, you might
admire its beauty and your friend its scent. But you will both agree
that it is, for example, a red rose.
Similarly, anyone who bonds
with the eternal world, describes what they've seen in a language
only those who've been there understand.
In the world of the spirit,
there are no flowers. There are wants and desires that disclose
themselves in a predetermined order. Anyone who reaches that
world will go through the same phases as his predecessors.
The cycle of spiritual
development is called a “year” because in each and every phase, one
faces the same desires one has met in previous phases, but on a
deeper level, helping one understand oneself that much better.
Thus, a Kabbalist observing his
own desires lives through six thousand years of growth before he
reaches his destiny and succeeds in receiving all the pleasures a
human can sense. Because the issue is internal development, which is
detached from the physical reality by which we live, a Kabbalist can
live through all six thousand years (phases) in as few as five to
ten years of his life.
In the course of these years he
encounters recurrent situations of revelation which aid him in
ascending to the next degree. The Kabbalists call the degrees
“holidays” and “Saturdays”.
The holidays and Sabbath in our
world were determined by Kabbalists to allow those people who wished
to, but were not Kabbalists, to act in the flesh in accordance with
the spiritual world.
That is why we celebrate the
holidays each year and the Sabbath each week. A Kabbalist can,
however, celebrate the Passover internally even when the holiday is
months away, because there's no connection between our spiritual
state and the physical time by which we live.
Of all the holidays, Hanukah
and Purim are considered special. There are a number of reasons
for this. First, they are not written in the Torah. Second, it is
said that when all corrections have been made, all the holidays will
be canceled except those two. Third, the two holidays are directly
connected to the rebuilding of the temple.
Spiritually, the temple
signifies the place where Creator and creature bond.
The destruction of the
temple is a breaking of the bond between the two. That bond is
what Kabbalists are trying to rebuild.
There are two phases to the
corrections. In the first, the human must learn how to rise above
his egocentric nature and attain a tool (called vessel of bestowal)
with which to bond with the spiritual world. This is the correction
After that comes the receiving
phase, when the human might receive tremendous pleasures using the
newly acquired tool.
A thirsty man, holding in his
hand a broken glass, must first repair the glass before he can fill
it up and drink from it. He who feels the detachment from
spirituality must first mend his bond with the Creator before he can
receive the offered goods.
Hanukah marks and celebrates
the attainment of the vessels of bestowal. It is a spiritual
holiday, belonging to the first half of the work – the correction.
That is why one can divide its name in two: Hanu (parked, rested)
Kkah as a symbol of the rest, the break the human takes once he has
corrected his vessel and before he starts to fill it.
Hanukah candles symbolize
the Light of Mercy one attains when one has reached the spiritual
world. The light gradually increases during the holiday, hence
the lighting of an extra candle each day.
The festivities we celebrate
stem from a complex relationship between varying situations in our
Israel stands for the
force that drives us directly to the Creator (Isr comes from the
word Yashar, direct, and El is the Hebrew word for God. The word
Israel means “directly to God”), to the spiritual reason behind this
The Greek are the
desires that oppose man's spiritual development. They tell him it is
unreasonable to go beyond the law of nature, to commune with the
upper world. They claim it has no rationality. The Greek weaken
Israel's strength using logical arguments that originate in one's
accumulating experience in this world.
The Greek did not want to
annihilate Israel, as did Haman, they simply wanted to 'kill'
Israel's approach to life. They wanted to place man made statues in
the temple and make Israel bow before them. They did not fight for
materialistic domination, they fought for a spiritual one.
The Israel in man must
recruit the struggle of the power of faith against the Greeks'
arguments. Israel tell the Greek that it is right from a logical
point of view, but Israel believe it's possible to go beyond the
barriers of reason, to the world of the causes. The stronger the
Greeks grow, the more powerful Israel's faith becomes. This war goes
on and on until it takes a miracle for Israel to win. But then the
The miracle of Hanukah is
that one finally succeeds in bonding with what was so longed for.
Furthermore, a beautiful, enchanted world appears, far more
wonderful than one can imagine. Then one realizes just how true
Israel's road had been and why it's good to stick by it from now on.
The victory over the Greek is
the foundation of any creature's path in the spiritual realm. It
allows one to perform corrections that will lead to the final
frontier, that of Purim, the fight in which one succeeds in
attaining the endless, eternal bounty that the Creator has prepared
Author: G. Shadmon
Translator: C. Ratz
proofed by N. Ben Aharon