Chanukah Part II – Bringing the Shechina Down

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There is a concept in Judaism that the Divine Presence does not descend lower than 10 tefachim. This derives from the Gemara (Sukkah 5a) which explains that during Matan Torah, the Aron HaKodesh was 10 tefachim in height. The Shechina was above the Aron HaKodesh, above the 10 tefach minimum. However, when it comes to Chanukah we find a unique law: our candles/oils in our chanukiah are to be between 3 and 10 tefachim from the ground (Shabbos 21a).

This seems to fly in the face of the previous point. If God’s Presence will only descend within 10 tefachim from the ground, why do we light our menorahs below that height? We know that Hashem is everywhere and discerns all, but, fire hazards aside, wouldn’t it make more sense to bring our flames closer to the Shechina?

Rabbi Moshe Wolfson explains that Chanukah is of a different nature. He continues that kindling the lights is an act of kindling our souls, bringing them closer to the Ribono Shel Olam. Despite the previously stated idea of the Shechina not dipping below the 10 tefach threshold, God’s Presence descends in order to light the souls of those who need assistance.

There are times when one feels as if they are so low, so far removed from any semblance of holiness or relationship with Hashem. The Kedusha, this fire, is usally too high for this individual to grasp, but on Chanukah, the Shechina comes down to us. This is only referring to one who does not live a life of punctilious mitzvah obersvance, but to those who find themselves stuck in a spiritual rut as well.

To those who exert the energy to take part in the mitzvah of Chanukah candles, the Shechina will come down to them, and aid them getting closer and closer to the Almighty.

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