What an amazingly peace filled Feast of Dedication. My son said, about halfway through, “After Chanukkah’s over we’ll go back to normal and won’t have a reason to be light anymore.” My son is strong willed, he loves the freedoms that come at Holiday and Feast day’s . I want to believe the opposite is true. That we can take the light brought down during these times in a real way and transfer that warmth and enlightenment into our daily lives. Into those interim periods before the next feast. Perhaps this is why the light of Chanukkah is so vital. We now have at least until February until Tu B’Shevat, Purim isn’t until March and Pesach is all the way in April. But these occasions aren’t just entertainment, as if we should be bored or idle when “nothing is going on”. Each and every day is an appointed time in some way. God woke us up THIS morning to accomplish some-thing. To notice something, to feel something, to learn something, to share something. This Chanukkah I want to take with me not only the understanding that I have rededicated my life, my being, my Temple to Him for His will for me this cycle but this year I have learned I also have been shown in the lights I warmed my soul beside….I have been shown what I need to rededicate and dedicate my life to pursuing. I may not see the big picture right off, but as I look back at the memories we made these eight days and nights I will see what it is that He has begun. Not finished, begun for each one of us. I have to be looking and that is what I want to do.
Special and heart-full thanks to all our family and friends, all the teachers and students, all the work and prayers put forth to make this and all our time special. Thank you for the gifts and time you’ve devoted. My small gift coming into this new secular year are the reflections from this Feast of Dedication and below some awesome word study about Chanukkah from the Hebrew.
May your year be full of potential, like a freshly plowed field ready to be planted full of opportunity for growth. Shining like a beam of light out into this barren dry world in which we live. May any of the fallow ground in each one of us be broken up and filled to overfull with inspiration and life. Prayers for all those suffering as Islamic terror and violence increases. May we pray for the freedom from violence for these people, not just for God to stop the terror, for once they are free and find the God of life…then the violence will stop…for the source of it’s festering, rotting, filth will be cleansed, cauterized and closed up and healed. God of life go to all those who do not know You and speak life and truth into their hearts. May you be blessed!!
Chanukkah 2016 Nightly Reflections:
Where is the miracle?
This year the Feast of Dedication came before I could blink.
So many things going on around, it’s difficult to find a corner
in the whirlwind to stop, evaluate, to think…
The desire of my heart is to help them make memories
good ones, happy ones, but above all…
something with meaning.
So far the probing question seems to be the why
why is this time set apart from other things
what is hidden in those lights we thoughtfully stand beside
Overt and lofty victories God orchestrated long ago
that’s an easy enough account to retell
but in our own lives….where’s the miracle?
I decided this year I am going to look
and try and acknowledge with each flame
the wonders and the favors that I myself could never have made.
Looking at the light tonight
We settle in beside the sill
I see in the reflection
my arms so full
I have to juggle to lay hands
upon all the little soft faces,
I could never have thought I would be here
holding even one precious jewel
and this night the miracle before my eyes
is that I have each one of you.
To be entrusted with your care
to be enthroned with your heart
is truly humbling,
I pray that God will guide me
and enable me to best do my part
in opening wide the chance and hope
He has in store for you,
oh thank You Lord for this picture before me
let each one of them find themselves someday
with arms full like this,
fulfilling what paths You will take them through.
Happy Feast of dedication Miracle Light 1!
Where is the miracle?
The wonder I see
you are who you are
and for all the restlessness
the miracle tonight is a brief relief and focus
You give us the glimpses of glimmer
we need to remember
that the chaos doesn’t last forever
I see who you are
and repent for not loving more
the creative spark
how you flourish in freedom,
how you love to explore
May your searching always lead you to His door
to His word and His ways, to His Torah to adore
I feel a bit like an explorer myself,
sweet lad of mine
who captured some rare exotic breed
I know I can only keep you for a time
I know I can only show you how to try
but in the end it is upon His wind, with His wings,
in His hands….you’ll soar, free in His sky
and a moment of contemplation.
May it last into your future
as you grow and God willing, make amends for your generation.
Where is the miracle?
could there be a loftier dream
rectification is what the word means
is what this world needs
how is it accomplished
one tends to think on a large scale so grand
but I think it could begin with the soft touch of a tiny hand
the warmth and smoothness shakes me
from all I thought I know
to see all the potential
in you watching these lights glow
I can dream big
but what can be accomplished
can I truly even capture the here and now
I want to learn to chase this moment
and transform it for the brighter somehow
there’s so many things I have missed
slipped right through my fingertips
but tonight yours have reminded me
the meaning in life starts with this
tonight’s miracle coming from an entire day of beautiful meaningful conversations, lessons, company, reach outward.
Full circle I am inspired to know that before they could even understand it, these cycles of times and seasons and reasons are being engrained into my children’s field. The field of their lives, the furrows of their journey glimmer with potential!
It’s a sight to behold.
Where’s the miracle?
How many times have you called me into
a place of quiet
a place of grace
when all around me crumbled
seemed to tumble and fall just out of sight & reach
how often you called me into a sacred space
not a temple
not a tour
not a room full, nor a company to adjure
not a serenade to evoke a feeling
not a sense to remember
just quiet, profound, peaceful grace
only You and I
and that sacred space
when You uttered to me
what can not be said until we are alone
wrapped up with the One you love
moments that can not be bought, sold or taken on loan
when I woke up I thought I knew
what I was supposed to do
and when that ‘it’ was fulfilled
and I was left alone with You
You filled me with the light
I don’t have to fight
it’s the sacred space
that belongs to only You
my King, so high
that You take time to notice
what’s a flame without Your reflection to ignite it
never let it go out, and I
won’t ever hide it.
Where’s the miracle?
there is nothing that I need to fear.
then…. the pain and worry and doubt disappears
when all my faults and shortcomings become crystal clear
I accept it and taste it and embrace it – and that scares
the one who wishes I’d fight back
what You will do for me, on my behalf
what can man do to me when I live for You?
Can how wrong I can be make me any less valuable
it is only to a liar who desires to snuff the spark
that would make the world look closer
undermine the work in my heart
make common that which You have set apart
so I feed now on the folly in me,
not at all presuming it’s good
not saying it’s okay
but knowing that I can become better
allow Him to motivate a change
through the illumination of my humanity
I will not stumble, but let Him fuel that flame
the light which says
there is only Him in me
and nothing more I can do
but strive to be better
and not let man destroy what is being built
to be improved
that accepting of human frailty is nothing to become defeated or depressed by,
it’s the realization that everything- all of it
good and bad, light and dark, high and low
is all in His hands
and He can transform and use it all
if we move
and also not lose faith in ourselves
He lives inside
therefore I will let nothing terrify,
what can man do to me?
Psalm 118;5 From my distress I called upon the LORD;
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.
6The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
7The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
8It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man.
9It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in princes.
Where’s the miracle?
each one of us a wick
each time He moves in us
we become lit
and the light in plain sight
causes those who see us to ignite
imagine what would happen if we stood together in the night
I have a dream I wish to share with my brothers
no matter how I try to describe it
my single glow can’t show or make it grow in worth to any other
it is a whisper in your heart
a change in the wind
the spirit within
when you realize the more you look at Him
the more beautiful He becomes
the more you learn
the more wonderful His Torah becomes
the more candles are lit
the brighter the world becomes
that was its purpose to glory in his righteousness
to bask in the light of His Law and to shine forth like its truth
to become aglow like the Light of the world who shows
what manner we are to flicker and glisten and move
may your lamp never be snuffed out
may we in joy together aflame
eagerly await the Last Day
Isaiah 42; 3“A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. 4“He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His Torah.” …21The LORD was pleased for His righteousness’ sake to make the Torah great and glorious.
a picture, a glimpse into a future time
when we wont have to wonder at your precise will,
for You will be among us and tell us how to fulfill,
together as a company of peoples
the remnant of roses
a world filled with light!
Happy Feast of dedication Miracle Light 6!
Where’s the miracle?
to the brightest light
that I have ever seen in my life
I could publish volumes if I had the time
and never run out of praises, inspiration from your shine
ten years ago your spark inside
gave me a reason to live and stay alive
let not the rest which follows be misconstrued as pride
it is truly and wholly that His glory through your vessel be magnified
what is life without you in it
a shadowy cave, a cold empty dark pit
a stinking solemn barren grave
when I was thirsty you gave drink to my soul
when I hungered you provided a feast, manifold
when I was sad it was you who granted a kiss
when I was sorry you never ceased to be compassionate
if ever there was a reason to have hope for the future you’re it
I can’t help but smile into tomorrow when I see you beside that flag
child, with the spirit of one weathered, wise and old
I believe in Him in you, and know you won’t soon turn
to the right or left of what you’ve been told
I believe in Him in you, and know you won’t soon forget
the work He’s done in your life, and all He has shown
your music breaks the silence of a broken heart
your art captures the direction,proving over and over again
one can have a fresh start
your forgiveness, helpfulness,selflessness has made a mark
bursting forth like the dawn one can see from afar
give hope to this world as you glorify
the faithful in your generation
be a sheep hearkening to the one shepherd
as he stears you from temptation
then the light in your eyes will never grow dim
if you keep it fixed, as it is, make it trained upon Him
What’s more extraordinary, that I can say with surety…none of this praise will go to your head. Instead, you’ll bear it in your heart. I pray it will feed, clothe, and sustain you when (God forbid) you find times in your life that are dark. Know how loved and treasured you are.
(Happy 10th Birthday my amazing gift from God)
Where’s the miracle?
You never said You’d make everything smooth
that things would fall into our laps
that there’d be no hardship to work through
if every day there is a trial
You have kissed it away with even a tiny smile
a caravan of incense brought Yosef down to slavery
thus You have woven the sweetness, to get us through the nasty
with every defeat, comes eventual prevail
counting on our own ability will always fail
yet believing in Your design in the midst of a wail
will illuminate the way no matter how far we wander off trail
I can only pray that we have loved enough
given with heart, and been a help when things got tough
if we’ve served one soul in Your name great King
then any pain or suffering would be worth everything
I don’t think that miracles are just shiny things
that warm up the bosom and make the ears ring
I don’t consider it pretense to search for the spark
I don’t feel alone as I kindle this flame in the dark
while momentous advantage I can not define
I feel You are with me, and that I
am a working piece in Your grandest of designs
and that my Master is truly miraculous and sublime
the miracle, that we are here….a family, working striving hoping failing repenting failing repenting failing repenting failing….the miracle, that You keep picking us back up. Showering upon us all this beauty all this love. I pray for each and everyone who is living life without You, to find You this year and start working inside the wonder of Your plan too. May this year arrive for kindness for good fortune for success for good health for wealth to give honor to God, for children, life and family for us and for all Israel. Amein!!
Dedication and Light
#2596 (v) chanach חָנַךְ – To put something into the mouth to be tasted, to give to be tasted, to imbue, to instruct, to train, to initiate, to dedicate, to commence use of, to know, to perceive by the sense.
The following are the only 4 Occurrences of Chanach in all of Tanakh:
Devarim 20:5 “The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated חֲנָכֹו it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate יַחְנְכֶֽנּוּ it.
1Ki 8:63 Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the LORD, 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the sons of Israel dedicated וַֽיַּחְנְכוּ the house of the LORD.
2Ch 7:5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Thus the king and all the people dedicated וַֽיַּחְנְכוּ the house of God.
Mishlei 22:6 Train חֲנֹךְ up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.
*As you can see, simply by the rate of occurrence of this verbal root, and within its contexts we can learn a deep lesson. There is more to a house than just a building, bricks and mortar, sinks and beds. We learn first that the man who has not yet known, tasted the life of a ‘house’ with his family should do so and he is even exempt from the mandatory engagement of battle in the Divinely ordained conquest of the Holy Land or other battle which may arise. Before he goes forth with the possibility of loosing his life, he has to experience what life is worth living for! This will motivate our soldier. We learned that God made a way that His presence could be felt by us here on earth in a way we could relate to. He didn’t need a ‘House’ here to be worshipped, yet he saw fit to organize and centralize the worship for all creation and set up a standard as to how it was to be done. He allowed us to make a place for Him and promised He could always be found there. Officially that there be no question, “Is God with us or not?” Therefore King Solomon taking up the Torch lit by his Father David Ha’Melech and his forbears וַֽיַּחְנְכוּ אֶת־בֵּית
Va-ya-ch’noo Et Baiyt Dedicated the House to Hashem… This is what we are meant to do with every single thing we have, make, build, create, establish. To Chanukah it to Hashem. Note the order of occurrence, first a person has to understand love and connection on a physical plane (the man’s house) then one can look upward and realize it was given from Hashem and that He too desires love and connection with us and on a much grander scale. So then we attempt to experience God. That experience inspires us and drives us to teach our children to learn about, obtain and further a love and connection with God themselves. Therefore the last occurrence of Chanach is in Mishlei where we find that we are meant to dedicate our time and effort into teaching our children how to consecrate their lives and every aspect of life to Hashem.
# 2597 (Fem.N) Chanukkah חֲנֻכָּא – (Aramaic- a sister language to Hebrew, the characters are the same the spelling and pronunciation of words is similar. The book of Daniel is written in Aramaic. Parts of the book of Ezra is in Aramaic.)
The following are the only 4 occurrences of this Aramaic form of Chanukkah found in all of Tanakh. (Remember that Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 – Daniel and Babylonian Captivity- and the Temple was being refurbished starting in 536 – Ezra, Nehemiah, return of Exiles for construction under Darius.)
Ezr 6:16 And the sons of Israel, the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles, celebrated the dedication חֲנֻכַּת of this house of God with joy.
Ezr 6:17 They offered for the dedication לַחֲנֻכַּת of this temple of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel.
Dan 3:2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent word to assemble the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication לַחֲנֻכַּת of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
Dan 3:3 Then the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces were assembled for the dedication לַחֲנֻכַּת of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
*There are several things we can learn from these contexts. First, the joy of the people being enabled to rededicate the altar and the House of Hashem coming back from exile. Animals are offered and meant to be a visceral foci for our human nature. The animal was something we had cared for and that was of value. The animal was meant to represent us (in cases of burnt- olah, sin-chata and guilt-guilt-asham offerings) giving everything that we are, open wide and exposed before God. We were meant to focus intently and completely on what had brought us to that altar. The focus was meant to be on the person (namely for the sin-guilt offerings). It was a means by which the individual (although there were communal offerings as well) could focus on repairing the space between he and Hashem and Hashem allowed him to do this in a way that would occupy each one of his 5 senses and the very thing that sets man apart from animal- the exercise of our free will, motivation, and kavanah in order to have relationship with God and worship Him.
The contexts of Daniel and the idol worship of the Pagan nations is a totally different concept. It is the ‘thing’ which is the focal point and it is not relationship that is sought, it is to appease anger or obtain prosperity (a bargain for self progression versus a gift offering). The idol which was set up was commanded to be worshipped, the human was to forcibly abase himself with no serious thought or feeling involved. The context we read is that in which a towering, ‘impressive’, ‘valuable’ image was meant to be glorified. But three ‘small’ men who valued God’s honor more than their lives entrusted their olam hazeh (“this world”) to the King of the olam ha ba (“the world to come”). The image in the text was forgotten and the miracles God performed for His Great Name’s sake and on behalf of the testimony of His servants became the true glory! Man may seek to dedicate his life to his own value and glory but the true joy is found when man Chanukah’s God’s ‘house’ for His glory!
# 2598 (Fem. N) Chanukkah חֲנֻכָּה – initiation, dedicatory sacrifice.
Bemidbar 7:10 The leaders offered the dedication חֲנֻכַּת offering for the altar when it was anointed, so the leaders offered their offering before the altar. 11Then the LORD said to Moses, “Let them present their offering, one leader each day, for the dedication לַחֲנֻכַּת of the altar.”
Bemidbar 7:84 This was the dedication חֲנֻכַּת for the altar from the leaders of Israel when it was anointed: twelve silver dishes, twelve silver bowls, twelve gold pans,
Bemidbar 7:88 and all the oxen for the sacrifice of peace offerings 24 bulls, all the rams 60, the male goats 60, the male lambs one year old 60. This was the dedication חֲנֻכַּ֣ת for the altar after it was anointed.
2 Ch 7:9 On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for the dedication חֲנֻכַּת of the altar they observed seven days and the feast seven days.
Neh 12:27 Now at the dedication וּבַחֲנֻכַּת of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites from all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem so that they might celebrate the dedication חֲנֻכָּה with gladness, with hymns of thanksgiving and with songs to the accompaniment of cymbals, harps and lyres.
- In trying to understand what the bible says about Chanukkah using the Hebrew words we find that there are things that can be Chanukkah’ed ( the offerings, the gifts brought for using the Holy House of Hashem, the Holy House of Hashem itself, the wall of Yerushalayim ) there is a way of worship that is being Chanukkah’ed (with song, and joy, and gladness of heart the celebration of Chanukkah- dedication is observed.) We know well that as the living Temples of Hashem we too can be Chanukkah’ed to God. It is our hearts and what is inside, in the Holy of Holies that God finds most sacred. The bible had not commanded the observance of Chanukkah as a festival for the people who are a part of His Holy Kehilah (assembly- “Church”- Ekklessia).
- In other words, Chanukkah as we know it, is not a part of the explicitly defined “Feasts of the LORD”. But, you will find something very interesting the portion of Vayikra which does lay out the Lord’s Appointed Times.
Vayikra 23;1 The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD’S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these: 3‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.
4‘These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.
5‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover. 6‘Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7‘On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. 8‘But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.’”
9Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11‘He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12‘Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD. 13‘Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine. 14‘Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.
15‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. 16‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD.
17 ‘You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD. 18‘Along with the bread you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD. 19‘You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20‘The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the LORD; they are to be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21‘On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.
22 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.’”
23 Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25‘You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.’”
26 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 27“On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. 28“You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. 29“If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30“As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31“You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32“It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.”
33Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 34“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. 35‘On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. 36‘For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work.
37‘These are the appointed times of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to the LORD—burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day’s matter on its own day— 38besides those of the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.
39‘On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. 40‘Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 41‘You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42‘You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, 43so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.’” 44So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD.
*Bearing in mind that Chapters and verses are a modern phenomenon, if we were to keep reading IMMEDIATELY after the section regarding the Lord’s Appointed Times, what do we see?
Vayikra 24;1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Command the sons of Israel that they bring to you clear oil from beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually. 3“Outside the veil of testimony in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the LORD continually; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations. 4“He shall keep the lamps in order on the pure gold lampstand before the LORD continually.
* It should not be lost on us that through the Torah’s telling of the entire Feast cycle the very last portion we read about it the Continual Light which was to shine forth from the Holy Temple at all times. The people, each one, was involved in the procuring of the olives in order to make the pure oil. So this was a service where the Kohen (Priest) would take a little “part” of each person into the Holy place with him and they would be a part of one of the elements of worship which was necessary for everything to come into place. Without the light inside none of the other services could be performed. The Chanukkah account tells of victory over assimilation and impossible odds. God’s people who were forbidden specifically regarding the Rosh Chodesh and Sabbath observance (The new moon being the way by which the people would keep track of the Feasts to observe them, the Sabbath being 1st of those observances). When the Jewish people were able to enter the Temple which had been defiled and torn apart, they were met with more impossible tasks. It was that seven branch menorah that they set up first. They didn’t have but enough oil to light it for one light, even though it was commanded to be continual…. even though they couldn’t fill the command ‘completely’ they tried. They didn’t let the filth and discouraging scene all around them keep them from showing God they had a heart to do everything they could to set things right. Therefore He made that oil continue to burn until more pure oil could be produced. We can learn a lesson from this too. Even if something seems impossible, even if a goal appears unreachable or even unreasonable…if it will honor and glorify God and is in accord with His will He does reward the efforts we make!
Shemot 27; 20“You shall charge the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually. 21“In the tent of meeting, outside the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the LORD; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout their generations for the sons of Israel.
#2134 (adj.) tsak זָךְ – pure, clean, righteous.
Mishlei 20:11 It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself if his conduct is pure and right.
*How beautiful. The translation in the English bears very little of the meaning behind the term. It reads “clear”, yet this oil was to be more than just a certain “appearance”. It was special oil. As I mentioned it represented each person who put forth the effort to make it. The landowner, the farmer, the planter, the waterer, the harvester, the one who choose and sorted the types of olives and where they were taken from the tree, the one who made the press to press them, the one who pressed them, the one who sanctified the vessels the oil would go into, the one who filtered it, the one who closed the bottles, the one who brought them to the Kohen- everyone commanded to be involved. This was a community gift.
Our lovely Mishlei context indicates the heart of this tsak oil. The oil is fluid, moving, working, it represents a process, it represents transformation, it represents the deeds we are each judged by and the only thing we will have to hold out in our hands on the day we are called to account before our King. Therefore we should live with His light in our heart, His word leading our every step and our deeds done with purity and flowing like golden tsak oil.
[ The root of the word for oil (Shemen) is: #8080 (v) shaman שָׁמַן – to cover, to cover with fat, to be fattened. Each context of this root indicates a negative characteristic of God’s people. They have taken all His gifts, namely His Torah and way, and forgotten it all while growing “fat”. This root is found only ONCE in Torah. The rest of the occurrences are about the peoples senses becoming useless to them as they abandon God’s ordained blueprint for proper living, worship, etc.: Devarim 32:15 “But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked- you are grown fat, thick, and sleek—Then he forsook God who made him, and scorned the Rock of his salvation.
Nehemiah 9:25 “They captured fortified cities and a fertile land. They took possession of houses full of every good thing, hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate, were filled and grew fat, and reveled in Your great goodness.
Yeshayahu 6:10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.”
Yirmeyahu 5:28 ‘They are fat, they are sleek, they also excel in deeds of wickedness;
They do not plead the cause, the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; and they do not defend the rights of the poor. ]
# 8081 (Masc. N) Shemen שֶׁמֶן – fat, fatness, oil, spiced oil, ointment.
– Bereshit 28:18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil שֶׁמֶן on its top.
– Shemot 29:2 … and unleavened bread and unleavened cakes mixed with oil בַּשֶּׁ֔מֶן , and unleavened wafers spread with oil בַּשָּׁ֑מֶן;you shall make them of fine wheat flour.
– Shemot 29:7 “Then you shall take the anointing oil שֶׁ֣מֶן and pour it on his head and anoint him.
– Shemot 30:25 “You shall make of these a holy anointing oil שֶׁ֚מֶן, a perfume mixture, the work of a perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil שֶׁ֚מֶן.
- Shemot 35; 4 Moses spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, saying, 5‘Take from among you a contribution to the LORD; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the LORD’S contribution: gold, silver, and bronze, 6 and blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goats’ hair, 7 and rams’ skins dyed red, and porpoise skins, and acacia wood, 8 and oil וְשֶׁ֖מֶן for lighting, and spices for the anointing oil לְשֶׁ֣מֶן, and for the fragrant incense, 9and onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece. 10‘Let every skillful man among you come, and make all that the LORD has commanded…
- : 11the tabernacle, its tent and its covering, its hooks and its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12the ark and its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtain of the screen; 13the table and its poles, and all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence; 14 the lampstand also for the light and its utensils and its lamps and the oil for the light; 15and the altar of incense and its poles, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the doorway at the entrance of the tabernacle; 16the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, and all its utensils, the basin and its stand; 17the hangings of the court, its pillars and its sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18the pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court and their cords; 19the woven garments for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’” 20Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel departed from Moses’ presence. 21Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the LORD’S contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments. 22Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and bracelets, all articles of gold; so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the LORD. 23Every man, who had in his possession blue and purple and scarlet material and fine linen and goats’ hair and rams’ skins dyed red and porpoise skins, brought them. 24Everyone who could make a contribution of silver and bronze brought the LORD’S contribution; and every man who had in his possession acacia wood for any work of the service brought it. 25All the skilled women spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun, in blue and purple and scarlet material and in fine linen. 26All the women whose heart stirred with a skill spun the goats’ hair. 27The rulers brought the onyx stones and the stones for setting for the ephod and for the breastpiece; 28and the spice and the oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the LORD had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the LORD.
[There are only 2 occurrences of the root for Neir (Lamp) #5214 (v) niyr נִיר – to break up the ground, to make, shine.
Yirmeyahu 4:3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem,“ Break נִיר up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.
Hosea 10:12 Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. ]
[#5215 (Masc. N) Niyr – a lamp, a field newly cultivated, a candle.
Again we find context which explains that the light, legacy, continuance of covenant, one of the opportunities we have to dedicate our Temples to Hashem and shine light in this world is through the values we live out and teach our children. The contexts revolve around the descendants of David who failed to carry the torch of Torah in holiness into the world and even so God states, for the sake of the Lamp promised to David He will not destroy and punish forever.
– 1Ki 11:36 ‘But to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may have a lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen for Myself to put My name.
– 1Ki 15:4 But for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, to raise up his son after him and to establish Jerusalem;
– 2Ki 8:19 However, the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David His servant, since He had promised him to give a lamp to him through his sons always.]
*To understand some of the deeper miracles of Chanukkah we have begun to understand the focus on the Feasts of the Lord which were all centered around the Mishkan/Temple and Temple service. This service included the lighting of the Menorah. To understand why the Maccabee’s fought for God’s Torah and the Temple in Jerusalem we should note the commandment which motivated them to attempt to light the pure oil they found in the first place.
#5216 (masc. n) neir נִיר – a lamp.
Shemot 25:37 “Then you shall make its lamps seven in number; and they shall mount its lamps so as to shed light on the space in front of it.
Shemot 27:20 “You shall charge the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually.
Shemot 30:7 “Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; he shall burn it every morning when he trims the lamps.
Shemot 30:8 “When Aaron trims the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.
*The roots of the Hebrew word for Lamp takes us to a field, where there is fallow…dry, unused soil that needs to be broken up. Chanukah was a time at which the field the Jewish people lived in had to be broken up. The culture was such that the legacy of God’s Torah was about to be swallowed up by assimilation into the pagan culture in control at that time. Chanukah was a time at which the people had to decide what they lived for, what they were willing to work for, what they intended to fight for. They truly found out what they were dedicated to in this life. The root for lamp refers to POTENTIAL like a newly hoed row in a field. I find it awesome that the root of Menorah can mean a beam and shares the same verbal root as to PLOW. This is one of the miracles of Chanukkah. That despite all that was stacked against them, even after the war was won, the people took what they had left they picked up the pieces and began to rebuild. They didn’t let impossibility stop them- they took action, took a flame, lit the oil, and got to work.
#4500 (masc.n) manowr מָנוֹר – a yoke, beam, of weavers. (same root – to plow)
#4501 (Fem. n) Menorah מְנוֹרָה – candelabrum, candlestick.
Shemot 25; 31“Then you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand and its base and its shaft are to be made of hammered work; its cups, its bulbs and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. 32“Six branches shall go out from its sides; three branches of the lampstand from its one side and three branches of the lampstand from its other side. 33“Three cups shall be shaped like almond blossoms in the one branch, a bulb and a flower, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms in the other branch, a bulb and a flower—so for six branches going out from the lampstand; 34and in the lampstand four cups shaped like almond blossoms, its bulbs and its flowers. 35“A bulb shall be under the first pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the second pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the third pair of branches coming out of it, for the six branches coming out of the lampstand. 36“Their bulbs and their branches shall be of one piece with it; all of it shall be one piece of hammered work of pure gold. 37“Then you shall make its lamps seven in number; and they shall mount its lamps so as to shed light on the space in front of it. 38“Its snuffers and their trays shall be of pure gold. 39“It shall be made from a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. 40“See that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.
Yirmeyahu 52; 12Now on the tenth day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who was in the service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 13He burned the house of the LORD, the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire. 14So all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. 15Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away into exile some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon and the rest of the artisans. 16But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen. 17Now the bronze pillars which belonged to the house of the LORD and the stands and the bronze sea, which were in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried all their bronze to Babylon. 18They also took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the basins, the pans and all the bronze vessels which were used in temple service. 19The captain of the guard also took away the bowls, the firepans, the basins, the pots, the lampstands, the pans and the drink offering bowls, what was fine gold and what was fine silver.
# 8083 (Masc/Fem N) Sh’moneh שְׁמֹנֶה- eight, eighth.
Gen 17:12 “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants.
John 10; 22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple courts in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 So the Jews gathered around Him and demanded, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25“I already told you,” Jesus replied, “but you did not believe. The works I do in My Father’s name testify on My behalf. 26 But because you are not My sheep, you refuse to believe. 27My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Matthew 5;14You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 17Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. 18For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Proverbs 6; 20My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you. 23For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life
1 Corinthians 3; 5What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, as the Lord has assigned to each his role. 6I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8He who plants and he who waters are one in purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise master builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Yeshua the Messiah. 12If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13his workmanship will be evident, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will prove the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as one being snatched from the fire. 16Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Baruch atah ADONAI Eloheinu Melech HaOlam,
Blessed are You Lord our God King of the universe,
You alone have planted among us life eternal,
blessed are You Lord our God Gracious Giver of the Torah.
B’shem Yeshua HaMashiac, Amein.