From Chanukah Until the Tenth of Tevet: A Light Unto the Nations

When Adam saw that the days were getting shorter and the nights longer, he thought that it was the end of the world and he fasted for eight days – until he saw that the days were once again getting longer, whereupon he celebrated for eight days. The following year, he made a holiday of 16 days, which has been preserved in various forms in a number of cultures as the “winter solstice”. Chanukah also falls out during this time, and it seems that it comes to rectify the first eight, shortening, days that Adam counted. Chanukah daily adds light, in the face of the feeling of intensifying darkness.

The eight days after Chanukah end on the tenth of Tevet, the first of the fasts for the destruction of the Temple. The siege on Jerusalem began on the Tenth of Tevet. The universal influence of the Temple, depicted in King Solomon’s prayer and the vision of the future of the prophets, ceased on that day – and the universal vision of Judaism was suspended. (On the 17th of Tamuz, the internal, national influence of the Temple ceased. On the 9th of Av, the physical Temple was destroyed and on the Fast of Gedaliah the remaining vitality of the Temple terminated). The Tenth of Tevet is also associated with the translation of the Torah into Greek and the birth of Yesh”u – two failed attempts to make Judaism universal.

In the future, the fast days for the destruction of the Temple will become days of joy and happiness and the Tenth of Tevet will be the holiday of the renewed, rectified influence of Judaism on the world. The eight days following Chanukah will become a holiday, like the holiday of Adam, the father of all humankind. The celebration will peak on the Tenth of Tevet.

Currently, Jewish law follows the legal decision of the House of Hillel and we add one additional candle every night of Chanukah. But it is written that in the future, the law will be according to the House of Shamai, which determined that one candle from the eight should be subtracted each night. Here we see that the law can be according to both views: After eight days of adding a candle a day, we will celebrate eight days of subtracting a candle a day – which will symbolize the lessening of the negative components in the nations of the world, until its fertile meeting with Judaism. After separation from the dark components, we will reach rectification, the clarification of the cultures of the world and the dissemination of Torah to all the nations.

A different order is possible in the future, as well. First, we would light according to the ruling of Beit Shamai (subtracting the negative components of the nations of the world). Afterwards, we would add holiness and a candle a day, according to the ruling of Beit Hillel. (This order would naturally flow with the shortening and then lengthening days).

If we light according to the first method: Adding a candle a day as per Beit Hillel and then subtracting a candle a day as per Beit Shamai, there is one day in the middle, on which we light eight candles in either direction. According to this method there would be 15 days, in which we would light a total of 64 candles. Alternately, there could be 16 days, in which days 8 and 9 both have eight candles. In this case, we would light a total of 72 candles.

According to the second method, we would begin with Beit Shamai, subtracting the negative components of the nations, followed by the ruling of Beit Hillel, adding one candle a day to represent added  holiness. If the entire process would take 16 days, with days 8 and 9 both having one candle, we would light 72 candles in all. However, if day 8, with one candle, would apply to both the last day of Beit Shammai’s ruling and the first day of Beit Hillel’s, we again have 15 days and a total number of 71 candles. This is the secret of the Nation of Israel amidst the nations of the world. “And the wolf (the 70 nations of the world) will live with the (one) sheep,” – the Nation of Israel.

Translated, with additions, from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s book, “Hanerot Halalu”.

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