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A Timely Torah Message By Shaya Gross

Lighting up the Darkness

[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much. A special thank you to Aaron Friedman for always looking over the divrei torah.] 

The number thirty-six seems to play a significant role, both in the creation and continuance of the world, as well as during this time of year.

On Chanuka, we light a total of 36 candles. For the first thirty-six hours of the creation of the world, there was an extremely powerful spiritual light that shone forth. However, Hashem foresaw that it would be unfitting for the wicked people to benefit from this special light, and He therefore hid the light for the Tzadikim in the world to come.

The Seforim tell us that there are a few places where this special light is hidden in THIS world, enabling us to tap into this extra special holiness. It is hidden in the 36 candles that we light on Chanuka. It is hidden in the 36 tractates of Shas. And it is hidden in the 36 Tzadikim that exist in every generation.

The Seforim teach us that Yosef Hatzadik was the epitome of a hidden Tzadik; in fact, he was the ‘head’ of all hidden Tzadikim. Hence, we see a deep connection between the Parshiyos we lain Chanuka time concerning Yosef and the holiday of Chanuka. Yosef’s mida is the sixth Sefira/ Mida, the Mida of Yesod, hence ‘Yesod Shebiyisod’ which epitomizes Yosef, takes place on the thirty sixth day of Sefira! Also the daf [folio] of the Gemara in Sota which discusses the story of Yosef with the wife of Potiphar, and how Yosef overcame the test and earned the title Yosef HATZADIK is on DAF…, you guessed it: lamed vav [thirty six]!

I would like to suggest that although there are more than thirty-six people receiving this email and therefore, it’s not possible that we are all members of the ‘Thirty-Six Tzadikim club,’ we can still tap into their strength and holiness when we perform Mitzvos in private, and where there is no fanfare and honor.

Hence, on Chanuka, which the Seforim tell us corresponds to Yosef Hatzadik, we have an enormous amount of potential to tap into all three places where the special light is hidden: Torah, the Chanuka candles, and doing mitzvos in private.

We can now appreciate on a deeper level the Halacha that one should learn Torah right before lighting the Chanuka candles; as then one will be tapping into two places where the special light was hidden!

In fact, I recently learned that the word כסלו is made up of two words, ‘כס’ which means hidden and ‘,לו’ i.e. that the very name of the month that Chanuka begins in, signifies to us that in this month there is hidden the holiness of the ‘thirty six!’

Specifically now, during the darkness of the winter, at the time when the Greeks tried to spiritually contaminate us and get us sullied in sin, we have the potential to tap into this incredible abundance of holiness. Let us all try, each according to his or her level, to access some of this special holiness that is ‘in the air’ of Chanuka.
May we then merit soon the day when this beautiful light and holiness will shine forth once again in its true glory and grandeur, with the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days.

{Editor’s note: I would like to add just a short thought to Shaya’s beautiful words about Chanukah.
Over these last 23 months, there has been lots of darkness that has seeped into our daily life. Each and every one of us was affected by Covid19 in a different way. Hashem gave each and every one of us a challenge that was tailor made to suit us. Many of us have been isolated from our own relatives. Grandparents not being able to kiss grandchildren. People having to make Yomim Tovim alone without family around to help them. Not being able to go out to a market for months. Lots of darkness, which can lead to so many unhealthy things.

Perhaps especially this year, let us make a special effort to look at our candles and lights that are burning. When we look at the Chanukah candles, let us try to allow that light to enter our very hearts and minds. Let it awaken true happiness and cause the dark fog that has descended upon us to dissipate.

As we light our candles, let us continue to remember to have gratitude for all the lights in our life, i.e. the blessings that Hashem has bestowed on each and every one of us. With that, may Hashem bless us with a year filled with good health, parnassah, happiness and all the best things in the world!
Have a wonderful Chanuka!}

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