Purifying The Oil XI: The Oil of Blessing Part One
Rabbi Judah discoursed on the text, “I am my beloved’s and his desire is to me.” (Song of Songs 7:11) He said, “The inner meaning of this verse is that the stirring below is accompanied by a stirring above, for there is no stirring above till there is a stirring below. Further, blessings from above descend only where there is some substance and not mere emptiness. We learn this from the wife of Obadiah, to whom Elisha said, “Tell me, what have you in the house,” (Kings II 4:2) meaning that blessings from above would not descend on an empty table or an empty place. When she said, “Your handmaiden has nothing in the house except a cruse of oil,” only enough to smear her little finger, he said to her, “You have relieved me, for I did not see how blessings were to descend from above on to an empty place, but since you have some oil, this will provide a place sufficient for this purpose.” The connection of “oil” and “blessing” is found in Psalms where it says, “Like the good oil,” and then, “For there God commanded the blessing, life for evermore.” (Zohar I 88a)
The entire Chanukah story is one of stirrings below creating stirrings above; a place to receive blessing. The oil the Chashmonaim found was only a reflection of the stirrings they created below by their effort and willingness to overcome overwhelming odds.
Our Chanukah service is not just the fulfillment of a MItzvah to light the Menorah; it is to create powerful stirrings below to awaken stirrings above, and to create a place in our homes and heart that can receive blessing.