The Pre-After #Hanukkah midnightrabbi blues <-click here to listen, with Chanah and her 7 sons and Talmud inspired midnightrabbi.com<-
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History travels, seemingly aimlessly. Generations come and go. As a wide circle, history repeats itself. Is there an objective? Is the world aiming toward a goal?
On Chanukah we turn the dreidel. The Nun, Gimel, Heh and Shin engraved on the dreidel come and go as it spins. The dreidel seems to be spinning aimlessly. However, the Bnei Yissaschar points out that Nun, Gimel, Heh and Shin are gematria Mashiach (they both equal 358).
It’s true; world history – as symbolized by the dreidel – seems to be spinning aimlessly. However, there is a center point around which it all turns – the world’s redemption through Mashiach.
Source: Shalosh Seudos Torah Parshas Vayeishev
Source: Shalosh Seudos Torah Parshas Vayeishev
New Chanukah Shiur! 1) Mesiras Nefesh – 19 Kislev at Chabad gathering (complete shiur great sound quality)
CHANA AND HER SEVEN SONS!
“INNER LIGHTS OF CHANUKAH”
by Chana Katz
As we walk down the hillside of Tsfat’s historic Old Cemetery, we approach a mother who is buried along with her seven sons. For some, it may be viewed as one of the greatest stories of martrydom in Jewish history, perhaps even greater than the famous “Akeida” in which our forefather Avraham was all set to sacrifice his only son, Issac.
At least that’s the way Chana felt, because as the cruel gentile king ordered the death of her final and youngest son, she requested permission to give him one last mother’s kiss. Granted this permission, she embraced her son and whispered in his ear instructions to be carried out after
his soul left his body:
“Go to Avraham Avinu,” she said, “and tell him he was told to
offer one son –I’ve offered seven sons.”
It’s no light story to ponder the pain this mother felt as one by one,
her sons refused to bow down as the king demanded, each coming up
with his own verse from the Torah to explain why it was
more important to sacrifice the mortal body rather than harm
the soul’s essential,
eternal connection to its source.
But something here was more powerful than pain.
It was the unfathomable level of happiness this mother felt when
on their own strength and desire, were willing to give up their very lives in
order to cleave to G-d.
Perhaps that is why, after the last of her seven sons was tortuously killed,
she went to the roof and jumped to her own death, and,
as the story is related in the Gemara, a heavenly voice called out that
she’s an “Eim Simaicha” (a joyful mother).
Still, it’s a hard story to grasp. And in her final resting place –
by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh
In fact, if one never looked at Chanukah in another vein besides
the miracle of the oil and the brave battle of Judah the Maccabee,
this tape will draw a direct connection
between Chana and Chanu-kah! Ginsburgh goes as far as to say that perhaps
the story of Chana and her sons who refused to bow
to Antiochus is the very basis of this weeklong celebration of one of
the Jewish people’s greatest victories and
why the last day of Chanukah,
known as “Zot Chanukah” uses the feminine word
“Zot.” Each candle, Ginsburgh says, serves as the “ner neshama”
for Chana and her seven sons.
SEVEN TIMES NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO!
According to the Gemara volume
the king asked each son to bow down to an idol.
Each son, starting from the oldest to eventually
the youngest, refused, each quoting a different
passage from the Torah.
The first son quoted the first commandment,
“How can I bow down?” he asked, “when
it says in the Torah, “I am the L-rd your G-d.’ “
The second son stated the commandment:
“You shall have no other gods beside Me.”
Said the third: “How can I? Whoever sacrifices
to a foreign god will be wiped out of the
Quoted the fourth son: “You shall not bow
down to other gods.”
The fifth son quoted the “Shma” –
“Hear O Israel, the L-rd G-d, the L-rd is One.”
The sixth son explained: “You shall teach today your heart that Hashem is the only
G-d in the heavens and earth and there is no other.”
Finally, the merciless king turned to the seventh and youngest son who
quoted the longest passage:
“We have sworn to Hashem not to change Him for any other god and
G-d has sworn to us not to exchange us for any other people.”
The king was taken aback. This boy was the youngest, yet the most clever –
and also willing to give his life. Nonetheless, the king tried to deceive him:
“I’ll throw my ring down,” he said, “and so people won’t ridicule me it will
look like you’re bowing down but really you’ll only be picking up the ring.”
No luck, Antiochus. The brave lad said,
“If your honor as a human being of flesh and blood is so important,
than how much more so is the honor of the King!”
CONTINUING TO THE BURIAL SITE
Flashing in time through the years to our generation, bound by cumulative
merit yet set back by incomprehensible capitulations and compromises,
whatever feelings one carries to Chana and
her Seven Sons, they must certainly include awe and admiration.
The most direct approach to Chana is to take HaAri Street as far as one can go, which will take you past the top of Old Cemetery until a flight of steps leading down the side of the mountain to the famous Ari Mikveh and to a path that will go directly to the entrance of Chana’s cave. The other path to Chana is more winding and longer, but it will offer the chance to stop by the resting sites of the Holy Ari (Rabbi Issac Luria), Rav Moshe Cordovera, R. Shlomo Alkabetz and other great Torah figures.
The entrance itself is not very high, perhaps only four-feet at most. In fact, the entire cave ceiling itself is very-low lying. It is quiet and dark inside but the just like the story itself, the illumination burns bright when it is viewed in its spiritual light.
“Chana and her Seven Sons sacrificed their lives on earth to establish and reveal to the eyes of the entire world the essential bond of the Jewish soul to eternal life, unbounded by the limitations of time and space…
to illuminate the darkness of the world around” proclaims
Rav Ginsburgh in his final words on the tape.
Now, it doesn’t really seem so dark in here, does it?
[Chana Katz, a former South FLorida journalist, lives in Tsfat.
Her articles on life in Israel have reached publications throughout the world.]