Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Something That Santa Cannot Appreciate

As Chanuka ebbs away it is important to reflect and realize what the importance of Chanuka really is.

The Ba”Ch says according to the Maharam that there is no mitzvah of simcha on Chanuka. However there is on a mitzvah of simcha on Purim.

What intrinsic difference is there between these two holidays that demands that we celebrate them in different ways?

The Ba”Ch answers, that on Purim our primary sin was that we drank and celebrated at the party of Achashveirosh therefore we now have a chiyuv of simcha and seuda to counteract our original sin, by putting the same amount of zest into a kadosh seuda.

By Chanuka however we do not have such an obligation. Instead we have a chiyuv of hallel vihodaa. The reason for this is because we were nisrashlu biavodam, we were faulty in our service to Hashem. Ultimately we were chozer bitshuva and this is why Chazal specifically instituted that Chanuka be a time of hallel vihodaa. Similar to the story of Purim, the same way the kilkul was biavoda so was the yomtov.

In the end of Meseches Kiddushin the Gemara brings up individual stories about Talmidei Chachamim who were on the verge of committing the gravest immoral sins but instead, at their lowest moments turned everything around by re channeling their emotions to the Torah and Hashem.

The pitfalls of our generation are not necessarily because of new challenges but because of our inability decipher between what is acceptable and what is not.

Hopefully we can take with us the story of the Chashmonaim, who took their initial lapse of avodah to heights that were initially unconceivable.

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