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Rabbi's Message, Parshat Miketz

12/03/2021 11:10:28 AM


Rabbi Benjamin Samuels

There is a curious halakhah regarding the placement of the Chanukah Menorah. The Talmud (TB Shabbat 21b; Sh”A O”C 671:6) says that it should be placed above 3 tefachim - handbreaths, but beneath 10 tefachim, from the ground (~between 12” and 36-40”). Why is the best practice to place the Chanukiah so low when the intent is to broadly publicize the miracle of Chanukah? The Talmud (TB Sukkah 5a ff.) teaches another curious theological principle: the Shekhinah - Divine Presence never descends to beneath 10 tefachim on earth. Tehillim (115:6) teaches that “the heavens belong to God, but the earth was given to people.” Above 10 tefachim is God’s domain; beneath 10 tefachim is the domain of humans. What does this dichotomy teach us about the light of the Menorah? Is it representative of a Divine light or is it expressive of human aspiration? Whose responsibility is it to bring light unto our world?

The Chanukah Menorah should be placed beneath 10 tefachim. The answer is as clear and bright as the Chanukah lights.

Shabbat Shalom, Chodesh Tov, and Chanukah Sameach!
Rav Benjie

Thu, September 21 2023 6 Tishrei 5784