Chanukah, A Time for Growth

By BJLife/Rabbi Binyamin Zedner

Posted on 12/11/17

I have heard a beautiful Dvar Torah from Rav Shimshon Pinkus. Rav Pinkus explains that one can compare the lifecycle of a human to the Jewish Holidays throughout the year.

First, we start with Pesach, since the Jewish calendar starts with Nissan. Pesach is comparable to a newborn baby, just like a baby cannot eat much foods so too on Pesach we have a limited diet. After this is Shavuot, the holiday of Mattan Torah, the giving of the Torah. This is similar to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the rite of passage where one accepts upon themselves the yoke of Torah.

Next is the Day of Judgement, Rosh Hashana. Our sages teach us that although one can go to court as soon as one becomes 12/13 and reach adulthood, Hashem waits until one turns 20 to begin punishing someone for misdeeds. Soon afterwards is Yom Kippur, the day Hashem forgives our sins. Similarly, our sages teach us that Hashem forgives people for all their sins on their wedding day. Immediately following Yom Kippur comes Sukkot. While on Yom Kippur we ask for forgiveness out of fear of punishment, the Torah commands us “Vesamachta Bechagecha,” You should rejoice on your holidays, by Sukkot. Our sages contrast this with Yom Kippur and say we have to do Teshuva Me’ahava, repentance out of love by Sukkot. The Sukkah itself is like a Chupa, the wedding canopy where we are symbolically getting married to Hashem.

After all these nice holidays we have a long winter ahead of us. In these dark and cold days, it is easy to get a little down. Hashem gave us the wonderful holiday of Chanukkah to provide us light in middle of the darkness. In our personal life, after the honeymoon period, most of us mere humans hit rough patches with our loved ones, the darkness. We cannot let the darkness get to us, we must always look for the light at the end of the tunnel. We use the trials and tribulations to make us grow. Chanukkah is the last holiday added to the Jewish calendar. It was added to let us know even throughout the long and dark exile we must always know Hashem is with us and we should look at the light of Torah to illuminate our path.

May we all have an inspiring and happy Chanukkah.