GATEWAYS TO TORAT HAYIM

 
CONNECTING TO JEWISH LIVING WISDOM RESOURCES

 

“…Until there are no stragglers in the marketplace.”

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by Rabbi Yaakov Haber

“‘The time for lighting Chanukka candles…is sunset but one can still fulfill the mitzvah until pedestrians disappear from the street.’ [TB Shabbat 21b].

There are two terms that have technical application in Jewish law, but are also employed by chassidut to express states of consciousness. These terms are reshut yachid (private domain) and reshut harabim (public domain). An example of their technical usage is that on Shabbat we do not carry objects from a public domain (i.e. the street) to a private one (i.e. our home), or vice versa.

These legal terms…lend themselves to chassidic interpretation as follows. Reshut hayachid becomes the awareness that we are all, without exception, under the ‘authority and dominion of the One’—the Yachid (the Holy One)—the sole Creator of ‘heaven, earth and all their hosts.’ Conversely, reshut harabim is the delusion that there are multiple authorities in the universe, a pantheon of them—that there is no Single Authority (no Yachid) that rules over all…

The Chanukah menorah is a beacon that sends its light out into the reshut harabim. Its precision-guided photons target the sparks that are trapped inside the klipah—…. A candle, says the Zohar, is… a living symbol that broadcasts the truth of Divine oneness into the psyche of those looking on. Whoever desires to grasp the wisdom of holy oneness should observe a flame ascending from a burning candle. [Zohar 1:51a]…

On Chanukka our souls are flooded by candlelight and the message of oneness that it transmits. The hope and prayer… is that these sparks trapped in reshut harabim consciousness will absorb that light, awaken, and return to the truth of their soul. Let our Chanukka menorot inspire a mass aliya of fallen sparks returning to their holy land, the reshut haYachid mindset, where truth rules and faith prevails.”