December 5, 2015 – כ”ג כסלו תשע”ו
There is a history behind the kindling of the Chanukah lights that extends to a time earlier than that of the Chashmonaim and the Second Temple. During the inauguration of the Mishkan, the leaders of each tribe contributed a voluntary package of offerings towards the celebration. Every tribe was represented, except for Levi. The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabba 15:6 and Tanchuma 5) relates that Aharon Hakohen felt left out. Hashem therefore revealed to him the future kindling that would be instigated by his descendants the Chashmonaim, and perpetuated even after the Temple’s destruction.
The Ramban (Bamidbar 8:2) highlights the fact that although Aharon was the key player in the daily service of the Mishkan, and the only one chosen to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, he still felt a stirring desire to contribute in some fashion towards the inauguration celebration. His consolation was the Chanukah lights that continue to burn today. Even though they are not part of the Temple service and are not lit by a Kohen, every single Jew who kindles Chanukah lights in their own home plays a significant role in Aharon’s consolation. When we witness the panorama of history playing out in front of us, we cannot help but be amazed at Judaism’s survival and impact on the world. Aharon’s vision included our own perpetuation of his legacy which rivaled his own lofty Temple service.
We are all privileged to serve as a link in the unbroken chain of Torah and Mitzvos. Let us stand proud as we continue to maintain our Jewish values and traditions.