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Haftarah: Machar Chodesh: Beyond By on


Chanukah 4 – Asarah BiTevet 10 – Angel of Fire II


Rabbi Yitzchak said, It is written, “The angel of Hashem encamps round about those who fear Him, and he delivers them” (Tehilim 34:8). This verse has already been explained. But in another place, it is written, “For He shall give His angels charge over you,” namely, many angels, whereas here only one is mentioned, as it is written, “The angel of Hashem encamps.” The verse, “For He shall give His angels charge over you,” refers to angels in general, but the verse, “The angel of Hashem,” refers to the Shechinah, as it is written, “And the angel of Hashem appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (Shemot 3:2). just as it refers to the Shechinah in the first verse, so The angel mentioned here also points to the Shechinah. And so, “the angel of Hashem encamps round about those who fear Him,” to encircle them in every direction so as to deliver them. And when the Shechinah resides inside man, all the holy hosts come there (Zohar I: 166a).

“The angel of Hashem encamps round about those who fear Him, and he delivers them,” is the mirror image of Asarah BiTevet when Nebuchadnezar and his armies lay siege to Jerusalem. 

It also reminds me of “Countdown to Chanukah 5 – The Fiery Sword,” and, the story of Elisha the Prophet and the boy, “Then Elisha prayed: “LORD, open his eyes and let him see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw the hills all around Elisha covered with horses and chariots of fire (II Kings 6:17).” It is another version of God’s Fire, or Shechinah encamped around us to protect and deliver us.

It seems as if the Zohar is presenting us with the Fire Angel of Chanukah to help us prepare for Asarah BiTevet: If we pay attention to, “The angel of Hashem encamps round about those who fear Him, and he delivers them,” the Shechinah of fire that encamps us, and draw our strength from our connection to Hashem, as we do on Chanukah when we capture the light and use it to light the Chanukah Menorah;  

Then, we, as the boy whose eyes were “opened” by Elisha, will see, as did he, “And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw the hills all around Elisha covered with horses and chariots of fire,” that we need not fear the besieging army for they are surrounded by the Angel of God and the same fire of the Bush that Appeared To Be Burning.

The people of Jerusalem, whom we are taught were experts in controlling the angels, were so caught up in the immediate threat, they forgot to look beyond the Babylonian hordes, and see what had been all along in their reach.

They didn’t have a Chanukah to recalibrate their minds and hearts when living through challenging times.

We do.

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