Vol 30.31 - Chanukah 2 Spanish French Audio Video
1. In the V'al Hanissim prayer that we recite on the days of Chanukah, it states:
“You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah”
The commentators on prayer have already wondered about this, namely that the last three categories:
("the impure . .wicked. . and the wanton sinners")
“Seemingly are not due to the deed of the miracle. For impurity (tuma’h) and purity (tahara), righteous and wicked, as well as the wanton sinners and those who occupy themselves with Torah, are not aspects of strength and weakness, that they should be considered the overpowering of the pure over the impure, as a miracle”.
There are those who answer this according to the saying of the Sages, that
“Who are the ill – they are the rabbis”
(“For even in health, they are weak because Torah weakens their strength”( שהתורה מתשת כחם))
Therefore, “there are also in these aspects, strength and weakness, and the weak, due to the miracle, overcame the strong”.
(According to this, it is just an additional explanation on that which was stated beforehand “the mighty into the hands of the weak”. For the reason that Bnei Yisroel were weak was not because this is their constitution (טבע גופם), but rather it is because since they “occupy themselves with Your Torah”, and Torah weakness the strength of a person).
(In addition to that which, according to this, it does not emphasize the magnitude of the miracle, and anyway, what does it matter what the reason of the weakness and strength was, even in the essence of the aspect)
according to the simple meaning, it is difficult to explain it so. For this aspect is only related to those that have Torah as their occupation. So much so, that “Torah weakness their strength”, as aforementioned.
If so, besides that which the reason is still not clear why we recite “the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous”. For this does not emphasize their virtue as those who learn Torah – even with regard to “wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” it is difficult to explain so. For it is difficult to say that (all) the members of Matisyahu and his son’s army were “rabbis” and that “their occupation was Torah study”.
(Especially according to the saying of the Sages that “if not for David (who occupied himself with Torah) Yoav would not have waged war (For the “merit of David (who occupied himself with Torah) stood on behalf of Yoav in his wars for David).
From this it is understood that at the time of war – the obligation rests on Torah scholars (“the rabbis”) to strengthen themselves even more so in the study of Torah, in order that their merit protect the military who are fighting. Moreover, on the contrary, the victory of the war is specifically dependent on this.)
Seemingly, one could say that the explanation of the words “the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” does not mean that all the personnel of the army were “rabbis”, whose “occupation was Torah study”. Rather it refers to the leaders (שמנהיגי) of those who were victorious in battle were those who “occupied themselves with Your Torah".
It is more probable, however, to say that “those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” here are (not just those whose “occupation is Torah study”, but) all those who study Torah.
(Even business people that set times for the study of Torah).
For all of them are called “those who occupy themselves with Your Torah”. This is proven from that which each person of Yisroel is obligated in the blessing of Torah, including the blessing “to occupy themselves with words of Torah“ (לעסוק בדברי תורה - כפי נוסח אשכנז)
(Moreover, one could say that the words “occupy themselves with Your Torah” (and not “those who study Your Torah”) here do not come to emphasize the manner of their engagement in the study of Torah, but rather that it also includes the occupation of Mitzvot, which is the purpose of the study (study that leads to deed).
This is why they are called those who “occupy themselves”( not “study Torah”). For “those who study YourTorah” are those who learn Torah, which is related to intellect and understanding of the person. Whereas the occupation of Torah shows that the person, with all his aspects and powers, deals in Torah. In other words, when a person learns with the intent to do, in a manner that all of his 248 limbs, act according the directives of Torah.
According to this, the question of the commentators, namely, “why does it say “the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” and it does not say ‘a thing and its opposite’ (דבר והיפוכו) like the other phrases” is answered simply. For according to the aforementioned, even in this case it is a “thing and its opposite”. For those who “occupy themselves with Your Torah” are those who keep the Mitzvot of the Torah, which is the opposite of the “wanton sinners” - those that willfully transgress the commands of the Torah)
Thus, the question returns: what was the miracle of “You delivered . .the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah“?
2. Seemingly, one could say that the phrase “the impure into the hands of the pure” refers to that which was stated beforehand, namely:
“When the wicked Hellenic government rose up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will.”
In other words (not a simple war, but) a decree against their faith, a spiritual war.
From this it is understood that the description of the victory of Yisroel that subsequently took place, needed to include not just the victory of the war through the military, but also (and on the contrary, mainly) the spiritual victory, the overpowering of the decrees and their nullification. Therefore, we say:
“The impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah”
to emphasize and describe the spiritual victory of Yisroel (even though this is “not from the deeds of the miracle”)
However, it is difficult to explain that these details that we say in continuation to the V’al Hanissim etc.” (and for the miracles) are not included in the miracles and wonders “which You have wrought for our ancestors in those days”.
One could say that the explanation of this is:
It is known from the history of that time, that even though the decrees against the Jewish faith (דת ישראל) (“to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will”) were decrees through the “wicked Hellenic government“ who “issued decrees against the Jewish people, (attempting to) nullify their faith and refusing to allow them to occupy themselves with Torah and its commandments etc.”.
Nevertheless, there were many of Bnei Yisroel (who were Hellenized) who joined with the Greeks (in addition those who did so because they were forced to do so). So much so that a small minority of Bnei Yisroel, remained visibly whole with G-d and his Torah.
Perhaps one could say that the intent in the three aforementioned aspects:
(“The impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah”)
is with regard to those of Bnei Yisroel who were Hellenized. In other words, in addition to the miracle, of the Chashmoneon sons overcoming the Greek kingdom
(in a manner that “You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few “)
there was another aspect. Namely, that even the “the impure . .wicked . . and the wanton” of those of Bnei Yisroel themselves, were delivered into their hands.
This extremely magnifies the miracle – from two levels:
Both the victory of the war, literally. For as is understood simply, the miracle was much greater, when there were those of Bnei Yisroel who were on the side of the Greeks, yet notwithstanding this, the “pure. . righteous, and . .those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” were victorious.
As well as from the spiritual perspective. For since G-d performed for Yisroel this miracle (which is the subject of the V’al Hanissim prayer, namely to emphasize that this was not a natural victory but that it was a miracle performed by G-d, as it states:
”But You, in Your abounding mercies, stood by them in the time of their distress . . defended their rights, and avenged . . delivered etc.)
In other words, despite that which many of Yidden did not merit this miracle, nevertheless, G-d considered the minority who were “pure. . righteous, and . .those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” and performed for them this miracle.
3. According to this explanation,
(That “You delivered . . the impure .. the wicked . .and the wanton sinners” refers to those Yidden who were Hellenists)
one could also explain why specifically these three phrases –
“The impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah”
were chosen, in a manner that they are “a thing and its opposite”( as aforementioned Par. 1).
For the opposite of these three things are related (in truth) only to Bnei Yisroel themselves (and not with regard to Yidden and their relationship to the nations).
In other words:
In the connection between Yidden and the nations, it is not so fitting to describe the nations as “impure . . wicked . .and wanton sinners” in contrast with Bnei Yisroel who are “pure . . righteous .. and those who occupy themselves with Your Torah".
For the scope of "purity, righteousness and the occupation of Torah study" with regard to Bnei Yisroel, is in a completely different category than with regard to the Bnei Noach. This is not in their level at all (ואין זה בגדרם כלל) (as will be explained).
Therefore, it is not applicable to say that they oppose Yidden in these aspects (due to that which they are “impure . .wicked. . and wanton sinners” . For just as the aspect of “pure . . righteous .. and those who occupy themselves with Your Torah" is not applicable to them, as they are with regard to Bnei Yisroel, so too it is not applicable to say that they oppose these things, and that they do the opposite.
The explanation of this is:
“if a gentile touches a corpse, carries it, or stands over it, it is as if he did not touch it. To what can the matter be compared? To an animal that touched a corpse or stood over a corpse. Not only the impurity imparted by a human corpse, but all types of impurity do not cause gentiles and animals to become impure “
The intent of Rambam with his elaborate wording (“it is as if he did not touch it. To what can the matter be compared? To an animal etc.“) is that the reason that a non-Jew does not defile, is not because they have been actually removed from the law of impurity, but rather that they are not in the realm of impurity and purity. For with regard to this aspect, they are not a being that the name ‘impure’ (שם טומאה) can be conferred upon. In this regard, he is like (another created being such as) an animal that is not in this scope, at all.
(This is why we find that the main aspect of reward and punishment is only with regard to Yidden, as it states: “Only you did I love above all the families of the earth; therefore, I will visit upon you all your iniquities“ (and as the Radak explains:) “He does not concern Himself over them (the non-Jews), whether they will do good or evil . . so too the Sages state that a non-Jew is different, for judgment is not administered upon them (meaning that “Heaven does not swiftly execute judgment on them for their sins”).
In other words, their deeds are not considered before the Omnipresent to be considered a sin. As the Sages state on the verse “Yerushalayim sinned grievously “– that “the nations of the world – even though they sin are not anything“),
(For although a Ben Noach is obligated to study the laws of “their Seven Mitzvot”– nevertheless they are not in the scope of “those who occupy themselves with Your Torah”. For only they, are those that occupy themselves with G-d‘s Torah that He specifically gave to Yisroel). Therefore, since a non-Jew is not in the scope of “those who occupy themselves with Your Torah”, it is understood that they are also not in the scope of “wanton sinners”, that oppose “those who occupy themselves with Your Torah”.
4. From here there is a great encouragement and strengthening (עידוד וחיזוק גדול) to Bnei Yisroel, in our generation. For in addition to that which “you are the least of all the peoples”, even among Bnei Yisroel themselves, those who keep Torah and Mitzvot with completeness (in all of their details) are, at least presently, a minority compared to our other Jewish brothers, may they live long and prosperously. The contemplation of this condition could cause a person to become despondent, G-d forbid, or at least to cause weakness (יאוש ח"ו, או עכ"פ לגרום חלישות). For how can Bnei Yisroel merit the true and complete Geulah that is dependent on Teshuva (as it states, ‘Yisroel will only be redeemed through Teshuva’) when so many of Yisroel, are still far from this?
To answer this, there is the lesson, with a much greater force (בכ"ש וק"ו), from the days of Chanukah. For just as in the days of Chanukah there were “the impure . .wicked. . and the wanton sinners”, yet nevertheless, the “pure . . righteous . . and those who occupy themselves with Your Torah" were victorious. So too is it in our generation, where many of Bnei Yisroel that do not keep Torah and Mitzvot completely, at this time, are considered “captive children” ( שנשבותינוקות ).
(Note: a “tinok shenishbah bein ha’akum” - a child raised from infancy amongst gentiles and who therefore has no understanding of Judaism, is not held accountable for not living in accordance with the Torah because he cannot be blamed for his lack of belief and observance.)
And the “the pure . . righteous .. and those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” stand on their watch (עומדים על משמרתם) with Mesirat nefesh for the keeping of Torah and Mitzvot. In this, G-d helps them etc. So much so, that He brings deliverance and salvation to the world.
They are given the power to overcome those that are not “pure etc.” For the reason that the pure etc. are the minority, is just in quantity. However, in quality, the pure etc. are the main (העיקר). For they have the strength of holiness whose source in the Holiness of the Omnipresent. Whereas the strength of the “the impure . .wicked. . and the wanton sinners” are just physical strengths.
Therefore, in the end, they are the victorious in a manner of “delivered” (מסרת). For not only is it that the side of holiness prevails, but even more so, the opposing side is “delivered” into the hand of the holiness. They are transformed to good as it states that they are “vanquished”( נכבשים) under the rule of holiness. So much so, that they are transformed into “the pure . . righteous .. and those who occupy themselves with Your Torah”
5. Just as this pertains to Klal Yisroel (as a whole)– so too, it pertains to each person individually:
The Sages state:
“Many have acted in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai and were not successful”.
Most of Bnei Yisroel are not Torah scholars but rather businessmen (בעלי עסק). The majority of their day is occupied with providing for their physical needs. Whereas, for only a minority of the day, they engage in actual holy things such as prayer, setting times for Torah study and the fulfillment of Mitzvot.
In addition, even though they perform all of their deeds for the “sake of Heaven” (לשם שמים) and strive that “In all of your ways know Him” (בכל דרכיך דעהו) – nevertheless it is still considered “your deeds” and “your ways”. It is just that they are done “for the sake of Heaven”.
Perhaps, there could arise in a person’s heart a feeling of depression (מרה שחורה). For how can one be able to fulfill the commandment of “Make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among you”– meaning actually among each and every person of Yisroel – meaning that G-d’s Holiness actually rests within him and within his home - when most of his time is spent with physical aspects?
The answer to this is from the lesson of the days of Chanukah. The reason that he imagines in his soul that only his “minority” is enveloped in “the pure . . righteous .. and those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” – is because this is just in quantity. However, in quality – his core being are those hours that he occupies himself with prayer and Torah and Mitzvot. These are the very things that establish his true being.
Through this very recognition, he merits the “You delivered the . .impure into . . the wicked into the hands etc.“. For even during the time of his dealings with physical matters, he feels that all this is not his main purpose, and they are secondary to his true core and being, which is his Avodat HaShem.
From this we also learn an encouragement to those who are becoming Baalei Teshuva (החוזרים בתשובה). That even if many days have passed where one was in a state of “impurity”. And even more so – “wicked. . and a wanton sinner“, and their inclination overcame them at that time. And they feel that they are “weak” ( חלשים) and insignificant (מעטים). They must realize that they are, in truth, ”the pure . . righteous .. and those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” and this is the core of their being. Through this, they will overcome their past.
Each one of us will build his individual “sanctuary”. In the beginning, one will purify himself from all of his undesirable aspects, as it states “and cleansed Your Temple, and purified Your Sanctuary“. Subsequently, he will light the candle of his soul (נר נשמתו) (the candle of G-d which is the soul of the person (נר ה' נשמת אדם)), as it states: they “kindled lights in Your holy courtyards“. So much so that he merits to “give thanks and praise to Your great Name“.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Miketz 5732
|Date Modified:||Date Reviewed:|