Chanukah Hallel: Fourth Paragraph: Achieving The Eternal
“God remembered us and will bless – Bless the House of Israel – Bless the House of Aaron – Bless those who are in awe of God, the insignificant with the great. God will enhance you – you and your children. You are blessed to God Who made the heavens and the earth. The heavens are God’s, while the earth has been given to people. The dead do not praise the Creator of Heaven and Earth, nor do those who go down to their doom. But we – we praise the Creator of Heaven and Earth – From now and forever – Hallelukah!”
The Maggid of Kelm asks, if “the dead do not praise God,” how can we say, “From now and forever?” How can we say “the Holy Ones bless God every day forever,” if they will die, and the “dead do not praise God?” Are we not free of Mitzvot once we die? What form will the praise take?
We say in the blessings of Shema, “Instill understanding in our hearts to understand and elucidate, to listen, learn teach, safeguard and perform,” perform, “likayeim” is actually to make something last forever.
We have the ability to sing praises now that will have eternal life! We can perform Mitzvot that will achieve “Kayama,” lasting influence.
This is the meaning of the verse, “Your testimonies are righteous forever, grant me understanding so that I may live.” (Psalms 119:144) David is praying for a Divine gift of the ability to observe God’s eternal testimonies with enough understanding so that he may achieve eternal life. (Chochmah U’Mussar, Volume II, #64)