Chanukah 5778 – Part IX: Post Chanukah – Kavua

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The splendor of Chanukah has left our midst. We will kindle no lights tonight. We are left to clean our Chanukios and work off those extra pounds from 8 days of latkes, donuts, and gelt. Nevertheless, the messages of Chanukah are still significantly relevant even as we make our way past this holiday. There are ideas that are tied to Chanukah, both on this website and others, that are not intrinsically unique to the eight days that follow the 25th of Kislev.

Rav Shaul Alter, Rosh Yeshiva of the Jerusalem Sfas Emes Yeshiva and son of the previous Gerrer Rebbe, notes that the light and inspiration of Chanukah is to last throughout the year. He writes that we know there are two prevalent customs when it comes to the location of lighting our menorahs. The first, is to light in a place which will be seen by the masses. In Israel, this usually means lighting outside, while in America, it usually means lighting near a window where the lights are visible to passersby. The second custom is to light in a doorway on the opposite side of the mezuzah, on the left side of an entrance. This ensures that, the mezuzah on one side, and the menorah on the other, one is literally “surrounded” by mitzvos.

By lighting near the mezuzah, Rav Alter points out, we are almost mimicking the scroll itself. We are commanded to place mezuzos on our doorposts, and they are to remain there for as long as we dwell in that location. Even when we move to a new location, they are to be put up there as well. The mezuzos are kavua, fixed or established. They remain in place day in and day out. This, Rav Alter explains, is how the inspiration from Chanukah should be to us, in our hears. Kavua, established within us for the rest of the year, and for the rest of our lives. We don’t give much day-to-day thought to our mezuzos. They hang on the wall. We see them, but they remain stationary. The inspiration that we gained from Chanukah should carry us through. It must be kavua, affixed within us, until we are recharged and reinspired next year.

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