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During the Second Temple, the Greek empire reigned (over Israel),1 and they (the Greeks) passed decrees against the Jews and (tried) to erase their religion, and did not allow them to carry out Torah (study) or the commandments. They put their hands on their property and their daughters. They entered the Temple, destroyed and made the pure unclean. The Jews were in great distress because of them and were much oppressed, until the G-d of their fathers had mercy on them, delivering them from their hands and saving them. Then overcame, the sons of the Hasmonean High Priest, (the Greeks) and killed them and saved the Jews from their hands. They appointed a king from the Priests, and the kingdom of Israel was restored for more than 200 years until the destruction of (the) second (Temple). When the Jews overcame their enemies and destroyed them, it was the 25th of Kislev2 when they entered the Sanctuary (inner room) and did not find pure (olive) oil in the Temple, except one jar sealed with seal of the High Priest, and it did not contain enough to light except for one day only. But they lit from it the lamps of the Menorah3 for eight days, until they could crush olives and produce a (new quantity) of pure oil. For these reasons, decreed the Sages of that generation that these eight days that begin on the 25th Kislev, will be days of joy and praise. One lights on them lamps at evening at the entrance to the houses, every evening of the eight nights to show off and demonstrate the miracle. These days are called ''Hanukah'' that is to say ''they rested'' (chanu) on the ''25'' ('th of the month) because on the 25th they rested from their enemies. and also because of those days they (re)-dedicated the house (Temple) which their foes had defiled. Also some say that it is a commandment to increase slightly the festive meals on Hanukah. Another reason is because the work of (building) the Sanctuary (in the desert) was completed in these days. One should tell one's children the story of the miracles that were done for our fore-fathers in those days, (see Josephus) However, these meals are not considered as part of the commandment unless one says at the meal songs of praise. One should increase charity in these Hanukah days, for this can help mend any defects in our souls. This charity, should be given particularly to poor Torah scholars. (KSA 139:1)
1) 352 BCE until 70 CE
2) 139 BCE
3) The Menorah was made of gold and had seven branches.
Why does the Navi Yeshaya use the lashon of Nachamu twice? Rabbeinu Bachya explains the reason is because everything is midda kneged midda. The Jews sinned double and were punished double, therefore they receive double consolation. Rav Dovid Cohen, the Chevroner Rosh Yeshiva, explains it a little differently. Before we get to the explanation, we need to double our questions.
The Gemara at the end of Makkos brings down a story of Rabbi Akiva and the Chachamim where the Chachamim cried, and Rabbi Akiva laughed twice. First they saw the city of Yerushalayim destroyed and then they saw a fox coming out of the heichal. When Rabbi Akiva was asked why he was laughing, he responded that the nevuah of the geulah of the Navi Zecharya could not happen until he saw the nevuah of Uria about the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh. The question is could it be Rabbi Akiva did not believe it without seeing the destruction - one must believe in the yud gimmel ikrim? They answered Akiva nichamtonu Akiva nichamtanu - why the double lashon?
The Gemara in Yuma says that when the Romans destroyed the Bais Hamikdosh, they saw the Kruvim on the Aron hugging each other. The question is that the kruvim hugged each other only during the time the Jews did what Hashem commanded them and when they went against Hashem’s will the kruvim were facing away from each other. How is it possible that during the churban the kruvim were hugging each other, isn’t that in contradiction of what they were supposed to do?
We find that in hilchos aveilus, the beginning of aveilus is toughest and then it eases up. On the first day of aveilus one doesn’t put on teffilin. During the first three days there is no greeting another. Then after shiva there is sheloshim and with each time frame the aveilus gets more and more lenient. In contrast to that, when it comes to the aveilus of Tisha B’Av, the closer we get to Tisha B’Av the tougher the aveilus gets. Why the difference?
According to the above calculation, the toughest part of the Aveilus should be during Mincha of Tisha B’Av since that is when the Bais Hamikdosh was actually burning, yet we find that we put on teffilin and we say nachem during Mincha.
The answer to all the above questions lies in the fact that at the apex of the churban, Hashem planted a nechama. As the Gra explains, the lowest form of falling is the beginning of the process of getting up. The geulah can’t come until we are in the lowest form of nefillah. Therefore, Rabbi Akiva said that the prophecy of geulah can’t come before we have the prophecy of the churban. Only when we are in the lowest matzav of churban will the geulah arise. That is why the Chachamim said twice, “Akiva nichamtunu Akiva nichamtonu” because only when they saw the beginning of nechama were they truly able to see the nechama. The double lashon of nachamu nachamu is for the same reason. We need to see the nechama in the height of our galus. From within the height of churban we can look forward to the final nechama. That is also the reason the kruvim were hugging, because at the apex of the churban begins the nechama.
The Gra explains that the passuk of vehoyu zaracha - ka’afar haaretz is contingent upon the next part of passuk ufaratzta yoma - vakeidma etc.
Let us hope we get the double nechama of the navi since we are so deep in our galus that the first nechama is inevitable.