Thursday, December 29, 2005

FRIDAY NIGHT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: Menorah (Mikeitz - Chanukah)


Dedicated by Mr. & Mrs. Moshe Glick in honor of the birthdays of Calev and Hillel.
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Kislev 28, 5766 * December 29, 2005


Parshat Mikeitz - Chanukah

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It was the fourth night of Chanukah, and the Cohen family was sitting around the living room watching the Chanukah lights. With them was the grandfather of the family. That evening he had come to their home to light the Menorah with them, and now he was telling his grandson interesting things about Chanukah.

"Grandfather" Ben said, "Can I ask you a question?" His school teacher had given out a list of questions, so now was a good time to find one of the answers.

"Well I was wondering", said Ben, "Why are there differences between the Menorah we light today and the Menorah we light in the Temple? The Menorah we have today has eight candles and the Menorah in the Temple had only seven lights. Also, in the Temple they would light the Menorah during the day and now we light it by night. If we are lighting the Menorah today in memory of the Menorah in the Temple why don't we do it in the same way, having a seven branched Menorah and lighting it in the daytime, like in the Temple?”

"That's a good question, Benjamin", his grandfather said. Just then there was a "click" and all the lights went off in the house. A power cut! The beautiful Chanukah lights shone brightly. Then the electric lights came on again.

"There!" said Ben's grandfather. "That helps us understand the answer to your question. In the times of the Temple there were miracles on a daily basis, people could see the existence of G-d in a clearer way, there was the Temple and there was a High Priest, and every day he would light the Menorah which would give spiritual light for the whole world. So at that time the Menorah in the Temple had seven branches, like the seven days of the week, something natural and normal, and it was lit during the day."

"But what about Antiochus and the Chanukah story?" Ben asked. "Wasn't there a time when the Jews were being oppressed and they couldn't go into the Temple?"

"Exactly!" said his grandfather. "It was like a power-cut. It was a time of darkness. Then the dedication of the Jewish people showed itself. They were determined to keep Judaism and they overturned Antiochus. We remember that now by lighting a Menorah with eight lights, higher than seven. Something more than nature."

"Like Brit Milah on the eighth day?" asked Ben.

"Yes!" said his grandfather. "Brit Milah, circumcision, shows that we are dedicated to G-d. That is also the message of the Chanukah Menorah. And we light it in the darkness to show that even when it is dark, the light of the Chanukah Menorah, the dedication in the heart of every Jew, will still be able to shine…"

"Like the Chanukah Menorah shining during the power cut,” said Ben. The image of the dark room and the shining candle-flames came back to him. The lights of dedication to G-d and to Judaism, which would always shine brightly.


Chanukah is here!

Our extensive Chanukah website has how-to’s, stories, lessons, games and even recipes! It's sure to make your holiday more meaningful and insightful! All this at:

Tip: Join a public menorah lighting or Chanukah event in your area too!

Send Chanukah Greeting Cards to friends and family:

New! Featured Chanukah Videos:

SEASONS: A Chanukah Thought:
MIRACLES: A Chanukah Film:
MIRACLE LIGHTS: An Animated Production:

Wishing you and your family a Happy Chanukah!


By Dr. Tali Loewenthal, Director of Chabad Research Unit, London

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