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What is the Reason? Chanukah Candles Print E-mail


What is the reason that we are so strict about not using the Chanukah candles for light?

Rashi (Shabbat 21b) explains that we must remember that the candles are a Mitzvah. It is easy to forget that they are holy if

we use them, as we would a regular candle, for light. Rabbeinu Nissim insists that the sages designed the Mitzvot of the Chanukah candles to resemble the Menorah in the Temple. It was prohibited to benefit from the light of the Menorah. Its purpose was not to light the sanctuary but to bring God's light of prophecy and wisdom into the world.


The Midrash Tanchuma, (Vayigash #6), teaches that, " The Holy One, Blessed is He, told us to honor His Mitzvot as they are His representatives to the world, and one's messenger is Halachically considered to be an extension of the sender. One who honors My Mitzvot, honors Me. One who treats My Mitzvot with less than adequate respect is insulting Me." It is imperative to respect the Chanukah candles as a representation of God's will. We must treat them with awe, not as simple candles.

It is also important to remember that the Mitzvot empower us to create realities that are greater than we are. We successfully constructed a House for God when we built the Tabernacle in the desert and the two temples in Jerusalem. We must remember to treat our actions with the greatest respect so that we appreciate our abilities and potential. When we declare that the Chanukah candles are holy, we remind ourselves that of the power of our actions.

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