seventh day of lights


by Tzvi Schnee

December 29, 2019

At the local health food store, here, in Florida, my other state of dwelling throughout the year, I noticed two chanukiahs (Chanukah menorot) sitting on the small customer service desk: they each had the shamas candle plus four candles on one side of the menorah. I mentioned to a cashier person who was watching me looking at the menorot; as politely as possible, with a smile, almost half-jokingly, I told her that today is the seventh day of Chanukah, so they were a little bit behind, each only having four candles.

When I got back to the house, out on the patio where I can reflect, while occasionally watching the stillness of the pond, I realised how it is quite remarkable in and of itself that there were actually two Chanukiahs with candles, sitting there at customer service. And, what is the significance that each only had four candles plus the shamash candle? This may seem like an extraneous question; however, chasidism teaches that everything has meaning. As my confidante on the East coast from years past, used to say, “everything matters.”

The message could be, “halfway there.” I.e., between darkness and light. That is because on the fifth day there are more candles lit than not. While on the fourth day, there is an equal number of candles lit and unlit. That great leap of faith from darkness to light is what Chanukah is all about: “The path of the righteous is as the light of dawn, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18, JPS 1917 Tanach).

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