Countdown To Chanukah 20 – Fueled By Tears
“Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel ascended; and they saw the God of Israel: under His feet there was the likeness of a pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity (Exodus 24:8-9 – sefaria.org)”. Rashi comments on, “…likeness of a pavement of sapphire,” AS IT WERE THE BRICKWORK OF SAPPHIRE — This had been before Him during the period of Egyptian slavery as a symbol of Israel’s woes — for they were subjected to do brick-work (cf. Jerusalem Talmud Succah 6:3; Leviticus Rabbah 23:8).
Rashi explains that this great vision, the stones of Illumination, “as brickwork of sapphire,” was composed of every tear shed by the Children of Israel during their servitude.
Before they could actually receive the Torah, participate in the Covenant leading to Revelation, the Children of Israel had to see that God saved each and every tear and transformed it into a brick of light underneath God’s Throne.
Chanukah is a festival instituted by the Oral Law and is considered a Festival celebration of the Oral Law, a celebration of Torah. In fact, we sing the Hallel on Chanukah as if we are standing at Sinai on the day of Revelation.
However, before we can receive this special gift of Torah, we had to connect with that long ago memory of God collecting each tear in Egypt and transforming it into Light.
I suspect that the oil that burned somehow contained all the tears shed by the Chashmonaem in their great battle.
We have experienced months of great challenge and many tears.
Many of us have managed to use these difficult months to increase and enhance our Torah Study.
We can collect all the tears of the past few months as oil for our Menorah; imagining, as we watch the Chanukah candles burn, that we are fueling this festival and this Mitzvah with the same power and energy with which overcame the many challenges of the past year.
We can also collect and review all the Torah we have learned these past months so we are fully prepared to celebrate our learning with the most passionate Hallel ever.