Reb Shlomo - Chanukah Digest
Reb Shlomo ztz"l taught us in the name of the Baal Shem Tov, that on Channukah even the lowest Jew can reach to places which are higher than the holy places which can be reached by holy people on the other holidays...
The light of Channukah will reach even the furthest Jew and b’ezrat Hashem we will all come home walking upright, healthy and joyous 'l'artzeinu hakedosha, b'karov mammash, together with Mashiach tzidkeinnu" Amen.
The following is a prayer in Reb Shlomo’s words:
“Master of the World, if it is my mistakes that have kept me in darkness let this Channukah light shine into all areas of my darkness let this Channukah Light keep me from ever hating people let this Channukah Light give me so much holiness that all the darkness of the world cannot take away the love for myself and for all the beautiful people”
Surely you know that
not every Jew is holy
but every Jew is
Holy of Holies
-Reb Shlomo Carlebach ztz"l
Sweetest Of The Sweet: Reb Shlomo's Torah Teachings
“Chanunkah, Chanukah a Yom Tov a Freilicher”
A Chanukah Letter from Reb Shlomo z"l
Moshav Meor Modiim, Kislev 5749
Reprinted from Cong. Kehilath Jacob News
Everybody knows that Chanukah is the culmination of the high holidays. We are accustomed to think that joy and bliss are the highest a human being can aspire to, but our holy rabbis teach us that light is even deeper. So after Simhas Torah, when we experience the greatest joy in the world, we come to Chanukah. Chanukah is the Festival of Light. Chanukah is when we initiate the Third Temple, which shall be rebuilt soon. It is the one week of Chanukah, when every Jewish home is a little bit of the Holy Temple, which gives us the strength to hold out until the Holy Temple will be here for always.
It is possible to know every word of the Torah, but if the inside light of the Torah is not shining into you out of every word, you are still an outsider.
Chanukah has two outstanding characteristics:
On every other holiday you don't need a house. On Chanukah you need a house to kindle light at the door. On Chanukah when I see someone else kindling, I also say a blessing. When do I know that I'm at home with the Torah? When do I know that the light of the Torah is really my own? If I blow my mind over everyone else's good deed and I can't control myself, I have to say a blessing over it.
It is possible to live in the same house as your wife and children and be strangers to one another. On Chanukah every person in the house is kindling light; every night the light is becoming stronger and deeper and more. Our age is the age of strangers. We're strangers in our own homes; we're strangers in our own land; we're strangers in our own religion.
Reb Shlomo Chanuka Blessings
People wonder sometimes how after two thousand years Yerushalayim is still
the center of our hearts and the Beis Hamikdash is still our address. The
answer is very simple: because on Chanuka, wherever we are it is
Yerushalayim; our house is the Holy Temple and every Jew is the High Priest.
Why don't we confess our mistakes on Chanuka? The answer is that on Yom
Kippur, only the High Priest walks into the Holy of the Holiest. On Chanuka
when we light the candles every Jew is the Holy of the Holiest. On Yom
Kippur only the High Priest walks into the Holy of the Holiest but when I
see what the Greeks do to my children, how they destroy the holiness of
their fires, how they defile the soul of their souls, then I have no other
way but to take my wife and my children into the Holy of Holiest.
And everybody knows that in the Holy of Holiest you don't talk about mistakes.
You don't say bad things - even about yourself. You don't even say bad
things about the world. You just want G-d's light to reach the four corners
of the world. So, our holy rabbis tell us that Chanuka is the light of the
Messiah; the deepest, deepest, most hidden light in the world... a light
that reaches the most hidden place in our hearts.
We kindle the lights by the door or window of the house because on Chanuka
all the doors and the windows of hearts are open to each other. G-d's
Oneness, the Oneness of all of Israel and the Oneness of all the world is revealed to us
in the most glorius way. While we look at the Chanuka candles, I bless us to be
together with all the people we love as the light of Chanuka is shining
into our eyes.
Love you and bless you,
TEACHING and GIVING OVER Torah 2
There is such a thing as teaching, and there is such a thing as giving over. Giving something over to someone is
much deeper than teaching. The Torah says Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai, and he came down, but it does not say he taught the Torah to Joshua. It says 'u'm'sora' , gave it over to Joshua. This is the deepest depths there is.
Sometimes one meet someone one can study with for ten years, they can teach you for ten years and they don't give anything over to you. Sometimes you meet someone, and maybe they don't teach you so much but they give something over to you.
Reb Mendele Vorker, the silent Rebbe, was a rebbe for 40
years, and in those 40 years he only spoke eight times. Even
those times, on a teaching level he didn't say anything. At
one time he was sitting with his Chassidim for fourteen hours
and at the end he said, haShem Echad". "G-d is One" and then
he said, "Happy is the one who knows that 'G-d is one' means
G-d is One". On a teaching level he didn't say anything, but
when he said "Hashem Echad". "G-d is One", he gave it over.
We need someone to give over Yiddishkeit to us. We need
someone to give over to us, not to teach us that there is one G-d.'
The Torah says 'Jacob, Yisroel, loved Yosef more than all
his children. Naturally today, on the low leveI we are, if a
father loves his son, he says to him, "Man" - Oh no, he would
never say man, that would be too far out. He says, "Son, I
want to do something special for you - buy you a trip to Bermuda!"
But what does it mean Jacob loved Yosef more? Listen
what Rashi says, All the things which Yaakov learned at the
Yeshiva of Shem and Aver he gave over to Yosef. You see, he
taught all his children the same information, but to Yosef he
gave it over. The Bais Yaakov says the most unbelievable
thing. Sometimes the holy prophets knew everything clearly,
and sometimes they knew everything, but it wasn't clear. The
Midrash says "Yaakov loved Yosef more than all his children"
and it also says God says to Israel "I love you". This is my
humble explanation. What did Yaakov give over to Yosef? He
gave over to him that he should know that God says I love you.
Knowing that God loves you is something you can not get via
teaching. It has to be given over to you. So the thing is
like this, Yaakov didn't have clear prophecy, because he was
not to know that Yosef was to be a slave. But Yaakov knew
that Yosef needed something special, because he was the first
Jew in exile.
Chanuka is the one holiday which has no tractates in the
Gemora. Every other holiday has a long tractate, even Purim,
which is a minor holiday. Chanuka has only about a page and
a half in the Gemara. Chanuka is a holiday of giving over. It says in
the Krias Shma that you should teach your children when you sit in
your house and when you go on your way. Teaching is 'at home'
and giving over is 'on your way' because there is no time for
teaching on the way, only time for giving over. Chanuka is
teaching and giving over become one, because on Chanuka
I have to put lights at the door of my house so that the light
the house (teaching) shines into the street (giving over).
When you teach someone you are not sure his light will
increase, but when you give over to someone you know his light
will grow. That is why each night of Chanuka we kindle one
more candle to shine into the world, until all the streets of
the world are full of light.
Hanukah 5752 Torah 3
Subject: Last day of Chanukah
The last Shlomo story
Levi from the Levi's story related to me this story he heard from his
uncle ,a rabbi in England.Shlomo Carlebach of blessed memory was in
England right before he got on the plane upon which he was struck by
his fatal heart attack. Before he got on that fateful flight, the Rabbi
turned to Shlomo and asked him to share some new story from amongst
his awesome array of stories of faith.Shlomo said" o.k Holy Brother
I'll tell you a story I haven't told before". He then told him of a
friend of his who was a survivor of Auchwitz.This friend recounted an
event from the camps. It seems there was a very devout and sweet older
man called Yosi in the barracks with him.Yosi was determined not to
let the Nazis vanquish his
pride and his heritage As a result he insisted on fasting on Yom
though that meant not eating the one ration they received daily. As he
trudged through the camp performing all the mindless functions
inherent in slave labour, his lips would be silently mouthing the book
of psalms .Yosi would measure his days by the number of times he would
succeed in " going through" the book of psalms. On his last
Hanukah, Yosi was determined to light Hanukah candles. He was finally
able to obtain a little bit of vegetable oil ,after bartering away his
winter boots. He lit the home made candle and his face beamed and
glowed in the reflection of the candle. Within minutes the door burst
open and the Nazis clamoured into the barracks. The demanded to know who
lit the candle. They threatened to kill all the inhabitants of the
barracks if they would not reveal the culprit. Yosi, although hunched
over with age and pain stepped forward and said ,"It is I”. At that
moment, the friend told Shlomo, he had never seen Yosi stand so
straight. The murderers hustled him outside...and shot him dead .They
forgot to put out the candle. Shlomo's friend then said" you are not
going to believe me....but that candle flickered on for the rest of
Hanukah! ...for eight days." Shlomo then told this Rabbi," that's
it...that's the story...That's the story of Yosi and that is the story
of the Jewish People"
To: Reb Shlomo List
I want to share something unbelievable with you: On Yom Kippur, G-d
forgives us for our mistakes. On Simchas Torah we dance them off. When does
G-d fix our hearts? When does He take out all the hatred and all the evil
from our hearts? When does G-d give us back the holiness of seeing somebody
else's light and saying a blessing over it? When do we see that somebody
else's light is so beautiful?
Chanukah is the time of Aaron, the High Priest. Aaron's specialty was
making peace between people. How can someone make peace between people?
Aaron Ha-Cohen had the holiness of being able to actually cleanse a
person's heart of hatred. This is a very special blessing. Each time you
make a mistake, you hurt somebody. But you know what else? Each time you
make a mistake, sadly enough, you love your children
Your heart is not pure enough any more. Children need the purest
heart. They need the purest light. When does G-d clean our hearts again so
we can have the privilege of giving over the Torah to our children?
The holiness of the Chanukah lights is that they burn even in the middle of
the night. We are praying,” If I made mistakes again next year, let this
Chanukah light shine into all my darkness. Let this Chanukkah light keep me from ever hating people. Let this Chanukah light give me so much Holiness
that all the darkness of the world can not take away my love for my
children." Chanukkah is the highest kind of fixing in the world. If each
time you make a mistake, you hate somebody else; let's face it, each time
you make a mistake, you hate yourself, Each time you make a mistake, you
get further away from your own neshamah, from your own heart. On Yom
Kippur, G-d fixes your soul. But when does your light shine for yourself
When can you look in the mirror and see a great light instead of a
Shmendrik? When do you see your light again? On Channukah.
All year long, Whatever you do you think is nothing. Whenever you do
anything, you think, "It's bad, It's stupid. It's nothing." This is because
you think so little of yourself. On Chanukkah, you kindle a candle and you
know it's G-d's light. You realize you are bringing down G-d's light. You
realize that you have been bringing G-d's light down into the world all
year long. I want to bless you and bless myself that this Chanukah
should fix us. It should reach the darkest corners in our hearts.
Every body knows that the nights of Chanukkah are the longest and the
darkest nights. This means that the light of Chanukhah reaches into the
darkest places. In that dark night, I suddenly realize, "Gevalt, this is
G-d's light!" Good Chanukkah. Good Yontif.
* * *
According to the Shulchan Aruch, you really have to have a feast after you
kindle the Chanukkah lights. It's not a joke. It is not a sweet custom. It
says right in the Shulchan Aruch, "after you kindle the lights, you make a
feast." Yet you really have to keep your eyes focused on the Chanukkah
lights. Even if you walk away, you have to watch them. So let's focus our
eyes in a very strong way. The light of Chanukkah should be in our eyes all
* * *
A Home for My Soul
by Reb Shlomo Carlebach
When I want to do mitzvahs, I don't need a house for any of the other holidays. I can eat matzo on the street. I can blow the shear
in the street. On Succos, I am definitely in the streets. On Shavuos,
I can learn Torah wherever I want to. On only one holiday, Hanukkah, I
really need my house. I need my home because there, I need to kindle the
lights by the doorpost. The doorpost is my passages through life. How
can I possibly go on through anymore doorposts, if I have no light
guiding my way.
My home means my permanence. It is my Inside of insides. I live
there. I breathe there. It is my place in this world. How can I get there?
Only light can open that place up for me.
Light is the level of reaching higher than myself, to the deepest
depths, beyond anything of this world. I can learn many things in life. I
can feel many things in life. But this doesn't touch the level of Light.
Sometimes I can learn something new and it enters very deep in my heart.
But it is not until it reaches deeper than the deepest part of myself,
that it touches the level of Light. And when it touches that Light,
it too becomes part of it, because that is the nature of Light. This
level of Light can only exist in one place. I call it my home. A home
for my soul. Truly, on Hannukah, it is impossible for me to receive
that Light, if I don't have a home for it, in the deepest depths
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach at Congregation Chevra Tehilim, San Francisco, 18
Kislev, 5752/November 24, 1991
On Chanukah, when the light is shining--the inner light, the
inside light--and you know what you need, in order to be blessed by G-d
with children? Also Chanukah light. And you know, G-d forbid, sometimes,
G-d doesn't trust us with children 'cause we don't know how to look at them.
You know, I don't want to say anything bad--I'm sure this
yeshival'l here is the best...but the rest of the day schools I'm not so
sure. Or every one is good. Most of them are good. You know what it
takes to be a good teacher? The world thinks a good teacher is someone who
disciplines the kids--they're afraid to move, nebich; he takes away their
last ounce of joy. A good teacher is someone who has good eyes. Good
eyes. Good eyes. And here I want to share something awesome, deep, with
You know, beautiful friends, on Yom Kippur we're asking for
forgiveness. But you know how many scars we have on our soul? So many
scars. Imagine I love this girl very much, we had a big fight, and we ask
each other for forgiveness. And so we forgive each other. But there's so
many scars left. So many scars left. And you know what it takes to take
away the scars? Mamesh, you need one person to look at you with so much
love that it would take away the scars. And you know, if we would x-ray
each other--ourselves--we would see so many scars. So many scars.
You know, children, everyday when they come home from school--I
could swear they are full of scars. And you know, if parents have Chanukah
eyes, they take away all the scars. And they're so glad to be home. And
sometimes, nebich, parents don't have it. And I'm not judging
them--because *they* are full of scars.
Anyway, I want to bless you and me and all of us. You know,
Chanukah--it's our big chance to see each other again--not only our chance
to see each other again, it's our chance to heal each other again, to heal
each other again.
From Shlomo: (This is paraphrased as I can't find the transcript right now) "What's Chanuka all about? The Gemorah calls Chanukah the Or HaGanuz - the hidden Light. What's this Light? This is the Light of the coming world. What's he miracle of Chanukah all about? Why do we light for 8 days - there was enough oil for the first day, so the miracle was only 7 days? So
what's light all about? Fire come to oil and says, 'hey! you want to get together and make light?' And oil says sure. But what price does the oil pay to help
make light? It gets consumed. There's nothing left. What was the miracle? That the oil was not consumed. Young people are searching for the Light and come to
Yerushalayim and meet the people who supposedly know about Light and what happens. Their wings are clipped; there oil gets consumed. They are told that everything they did before was wrong and now this is what they have to do. Who wants that? So the Or Haganuz is that is the coming world, no one's light is consumed, no one's wings are clipped.
I bless you all and hope you bless me back that this
week of our Rebbe's Yahrzeit, HaShem will shine the
Light he gave Shlomo deep inside us all at its most
pure and holy and that we have the strength and
courage to live up to it.
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 17:42:57 EST Hanuka 5752--From Reb Shlomo Dearest Friends, You can be the richest man in the world, you can have everything between heaven and earth, you can be in the same room with the one thing you have been looking for, but if there is no light to show you where it is, then you do not have it. Chanukah is the holiday of the inside light, the hidden light, the light which is burning amidst the deepest darkness. At Chanukah we celebrate the light which gave the Maccabees the strength in the darkest period to believe that they can drive out the Greeks in the Holy Land. You see, my best friends, when we are born, G-d gives us everything, every day G-d gives us everything; only sometimes we turn off the light by our mistakes. Sometimes we blow out our own candles, so on Chanukah HaShem gives us back the light we need the most. Chanukah is the holiday when the Talmud says, "Chanukah is a man and his house," meaning that the whole family has to come together. Because between husband and wife, parents and children, you can stand next to each other for a thousand years and be as far away as two million eternities. Chanukah is the great light when we see each other again; according to the Kabbalistic tradition it is deeper than Yom Kippur. It is the holy of holiest, but not in the temple, in my own house. We kindle the light by the door to tell the people - the outside people - who have not yet found their own house, who have not yet found their own soul, who have not yet found even their own friend. And we share our light with them. All the hatred in the world is only because people don't see each other. Chanukah is the holiday that we are closest to the Messiah and, gevalt, do we need the world to see us one time! And gevalt, do we need all the Jews one time to see the holiness of being Jewish!
REB-SHLOMO Digest 1230 Torah 10 Moshav Meor Modiim, Kislev 5744 Reprinted from Cong Kehilath Jacob News Dear Friends, Every month we are fixing a certain aspect of our lives. The fixing of this month, Kislev, is sleeping. Inasmuch as light disturbs your sleep, if it is too dark, you are afraid to sleep. Hanukah is the holiday of the hidden light, the light which shines into the deepest darkness. What is utter darkness to the soul? To think that I am utterly alone. Hanukah is the holiday that even if all the vessels of the holy temple are defiled, the holiest miracles are happening to us every second - miracles from another world, from the world of deepest holiness where defilement doesn't reach. What is it to be alone in the world? To think that there to nobody In the world who can perform miracles for me. Hanukah Is the Initiation of the holy temple: G-d temple, Israel temple, husband and wife temple, parents and children temple. You can do anything in the world outside your house. For sleeping, you need a house. Nothing brings parents and children closer, than when parents put their children to sleep. Why do children need their parents to put them to sleep? Because they need to know that there is someone watching who can and will perform miracles for them - someone whose love comes from a world of utmost purity and undefilement. Every year, Hanukah the festival of miracles, the festival of rebuilding the house, the festival of Aaron the High Priest, fixes all our relationships, teaches us to love each other, and especially our family, with the utmost undefiled love. Yom Kippur we become one with G-d again -- Hanukah we become one with our children again. Yom Kippur I promise G-d I'll do right again. Hanukah I promise my children and G-d and the whole world: I'll perform the greatest miracles for you. Please, please let it be clear to you that Hanukah is the greatest holiday, that on Hanukah G-d gives us strength so that you and I - the Macabees of today - can perform the greatest miracles. Gut Yontif - Much Love, Shlomo
Moshav Meor Modiim, Kislev 5749 Torah 11 Reprinted from Cong Kehilath Jacob News Everybody knows that Chanukah is the culmination of the high holidays. We are accustomed to think that joy and bliss are the highest a human being can aspire to, but our holy rabbis teach us that light is even deeper. So after Simhas Torah, when we experience the greatest joy in the world, we come to Chanukah. Chanukah is the Festival of Light. Chanukah is when we initiate the Third Temple, which shall be rebuilt soon. It is the one week of Chanukah, when every Jewish home is a little bit of the Holy Temple, which gives us the strength to hold out until the Holy Temple will be here for always. It is possible to know every word of the Torah, but if the inside light of the Torah is not shining into you out of every word, you are still an outsider. Chanukah has two outstanding characteristics: On every other holiday you don't need a house. On Chanukah you need a house to kindle light at the door. On Chanukah when I see someone else kindling, I also say a blessing. When do I know that I'm at home with the Torah? When do I know that the light of the Torah is really my own? If I blow my mind over everyone else's good deed and I can't control myself, I have to say a blessing over it. It is possible to live in the same house as your wife and children and be strangers to one another. On Chanukah every person in the house is kindling light; every night the light is becoming stronger and deeper and more. Our age is the age of strangers. We're strangers in our own homes; we're strangers in our own land; we're strangers in our own religion. Let this Chanukah open the gates for all of us -- the lights of Chanukah at the gates to show how holy everyone else is. Let this Chanukah give us the strength to bring light to the whole world, because people only hate each other when they have no home. So our light of Chanukah will show the whole world how deep life is -- how deep it is to serve G-d. The holy Ishbitzer says the greatest blessing one Jew can give another is to feel at home with the Torah. So many of our generation are assimilated only because nobody made them feel at home with Yiddishkeit. You and I should be privileged to kindle light at the gate of everyone's heart to make everyone feel at home. Love, Shlomo
New York, Kislev 5751 Torah 12 Reprinted from Cong Kehilath Jacob News The specialty of us Jews is that whenever a new holiday comes we are convinced that this is the highest holiday. On Succoth we experienced that Succoth was higher than Yom Kippur and then that Simchas Torah was higher than Succoth. Now Chanukah. Gevalt. How can we live without the light of Heaven shining into the deepest depth of our heart? Reb Nachman says -- and so do all the other great rabbis -- that not only is Chanukah the final end of the High Holidays, it's even deeper than that. Because what good is anything if my heart is dark? How could I ever serve G-d when I don't feel the light of Torah? So Chanukah is the most awesome holiday when every word of Torah shines before me. Avraham turned the world into G-d. Noah didn't turn even one more person to G-d. After telling the world for 120 years that the flood was coming, he didn't reach one person which is hard to understand. Our holy rabbis tell us that with Avraham, the Light of Torah begins to shine in the world, The world was dark until our holy father Avraham came. We are in this world to bring G-d's Light into the world. Unless we are full of light we'll never fix the world. So on Chanukah we kindle a light in the window to let the world know we are ready to bring light and fix the world. Chanukah is the Light of the Messiah shining through us into the world. For me the saddest thing is to meet a few who thinks that other countries have the solution, that they are the bearers of humanity. What an insult to G-d. What an insult to four thousand years of Jewish history. The last few weeks have shown us what the so-called civilized world is capable of (preparations for the Gulf War). What kind of leaders does the poor world have. I know you share my feelings. Israel is not just another country. Israel is G-d's country. G-d's country belongs to G-d's people. You and I. It is clear to everyone that G-d has no place in the world. Because as long as there is violence in the world, G-d's Light cannot dwell in the world. In the same way we Jewish people cannot have a place in the world yet. This Chanukah, every Jew has to ask himself: What light is shining in my house? Is it the light of the so-called civilization or is it the Light of Torah, of Yerushalayim? Chanukah is not a holiday of freedom. Let the pagan world have freedom celebrations. Let them have something to talk about. Chanukah is the Festival of Light, the one Light, the only Light. The Light which will save the world. Let it be soon. Love, Shlomo Torah 13 New York, Kislev 5754 Reprinted from Cong Kehilath Jacob News When G-d created the world, when He spoke for the first time, he said "Let there be light." The world cannot exist without light. My soul mate can be standing next to me but if there's no light I don't see her. There can be a treasure next to me but I won't see it. Thank G-d we have good street lights. People can find the banks, the movies, the nightclubs and the ice cream parlors. But the world is still dark, because the light in the world is to see your own heart, to see the people you love, to really see the deepest depths of life, the deepest depths of the Torah. Everybody knows, we kindle Chanukah lights in our own house together with our family -- it's a must. Because when I see the whole world is full of Greek culture, full of Greek street lights I look at the world, it's still dark. When I took at my children, at the people I love and just for as I kindle the Chanuka lights, I pray for the light, the heavenly light, the light which shines between heaven and earth, between one human being and the other. Hanukah is the only mitzvah which is only at night, because sadly enough, most of us have to go through a lot of Greek darkness until we see the light - the one, the everlasting one. Israel goes through heavy times and the situation is a little bit dark, because we don't know where it's leading to. Just as on Hanukah the miracle of lights happened in Israel, in the Holy Temple, let the miracle happen this year that we see each other, that we see the world and that the world sees us. I want our children to grow up with that light. We kindle the lights at the window begging the world, "Stop living in darkness! Here is the light from Jerusalem. Let it be." Good Chanukah, Good Yom Tov, G-d needs every light of Hanukah. G-d needs every Jewish home. The world needs every Jewish home to fill the whole world with light. Much love, brother me, Shlomo Carlebach
There was a Jew in Auschwitz, Reb Naftali, who, in order to do the mitzvah of Chanukah, traded his shoes for a scrawny candle. The Nazi who caught him with the lit candle in his hand pointed a gun at Reb Naftali’s head and said, “blow out the candle or I’ll kill you.” Reb Naftali looked back across the gun at the Nazi and refused. The Nazi pulled the trigger. Reb Naftali had light. There was another Jew, Reb Kalonymous Kalman, the Holy Piasezchna who ended his life in Auschwitz. He arrived there after he was captured with the remaining Jews when the Warsaw ghetto uprising was quelled. In the Warsaw ghetto the Holy Piasezchna provided astounding spiritual strength for all the Jews who were with him in that hell. It is told that on his final journey inside Auschwitz the Holy Piasezchna sang and danced. The Holy Piasezchna had light. The lights of the Holy Piasezchna and Reb Naftali are the two lights that are the poles of our spiritual year – Shavout and Chanukah. With the light of Torah at Sinai God illuminated the whole world with the Holy light of sanctity and purity, and He completely saturated every Jewish soul with this Holy light. Its brilliance exceeds that of every other luminance and it totally dispels all darkness. The light of Chanukah is the light of Sinai that burns in every Jewish soul. It is a brightness that cannot be consumed even by all the darkness in the world. We know that light of Torah is the substance of our lives, but the essence of the light of the Chanukah menorah isn’t so obvious. It literally took an act of God to convince us that the overthrow of Greek dominion was indeed divine. The perception of light and darkness is an enigma. When Judah Maccabee was confronted with the decrees of modern enlightenment he saw Jewish darkness. When Reb Naftali was confronted with the gun sights of modern enlightenment he saw Jewish darkness. When Rav Meir Kahane was confronted with the handshake of modern enlightenment he saw Jewish darkness. Judah Maccabee said, “I won’t let you extinguish the light.” Reb Naftali said, “I, myself, won’t extinguish the light.” Rav Meir Kahane said, “I won’t participate in extinguishing the light.” By which light were they looking that they perceived darkness? This is the question that absorbed the Rabbis of Judah Maccabee’s generation. The paradox of light is that you need light to see the darkness and you need light to see the light. The only light that does that is the light of Torah. Just as at Sinai God personally illuminated the whole world with that light, so, too, at Chanukah God personally revealed that the light of the Menorah is Holy. When the Maccabees rekindled the Menorah the light that burned in it was the Holy light of the Jewish soul. When the Rabbis established the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah lights the first blessing is “to ignite the light of Chanukah”. When Holy light burns in our soul then we are capable of igniting the light of Chanukah. In the use of this Holy light we’ve been instructed by leaders of the magnitude of the Holy Piasezchna or a Reb Shlomo, radiant personalities of living Torah who have guided us through the darkness of this world. They had such an incredible connection with the Holy One that they never suffered or endured the blindness that we have. Where we would ask, “How can you see?” they would answer, “How can you not?!” Reb Shlomo sailed the world in quest of Jews for whom the light was being put out. Whether it was by decree or by force or by ignorance he battled the darkness. Like those before him, Reb Shlomo was both a great sun and a gentle illumination. By day and by night he infused all those whom he encountered with the Holiness of God. He forever radiated the light of Holiness whether it was the most magnificent of celebrations or the darkest of tragedies. Through him and from him Divine light and love were always shining. These spiritual giants had other problems because it is not such a simple thing to raise this world to the level of light, even momentarily, and they wanted to do it permanently. Nevertheless, they just never knew any other purpose to life. With every ounce of their being every single one of these Righteous people only wanted that God’s magnificence and glory would become known in the world and that God would finally be provided with a permanent home among us. That not one of them achieved ultimate success does not deny that each with his own monumental superhuman efforts did succeed in increasing God’s presence in the world. We fail these Righteous people because we want these saintly souls to be mortals like ourselves instead of we becoming mortals of their kind. As Reb Shlomo would say we don’t believe in ourselves enough. His emphasis being, of course, that we are Holy and that the level that he has brought us to or made us aware of is really who and what we are. We are not Reb Shlomo, or course, but that doesn’t diminish what we are. We’ve been able to learn, to understand, to say, and do some wonderful things because he did them and because he made us believe that they could be done. Nu, so we can’t always sustain such a level, but just knowing that it is achievable creates the desire to do it. More importantly, it creates the desire to keep working on it. When just once you’ve felt that you’ve touched someone like “Reb Shlomo would” then there’s no turning back. When you open the gates to your heart and you touch another soul it’s the sweetest, the greatest – it’s mamash Gevald! A Jew for whom the light of Chanukah burns, that Jew is never overwhelmed by the darkness. This simple lamp reveals to him just how vast the darkness is, but, he, wherever he goes, he is illuminated. In so many souls that Holy light has diminished to coals. With his great light and love Reb Shlomo ignited those coals and he taught us how to see those in need and how to fix them. When Reb Shlomo called us the “Holy Beggars” he also taught us that we, too, are “them”. Not only is it the vagabond on the street corner, or the businessman, or the person next to me who talks during davening, it’s also the person facing me in the mirror. Reb Shlomo wanted us to fix the coal of that person in the mirror so that it would burn continuously. When that light is glowing steadily then it is capable of discovering others and rekindling them. Blessed are we who had the good fortune of having had Reb Shlomo guide us to that light – the light of the Holy One, Blessed be He. We must use what he taught us to ignite the light – not extinguish it.
Torah 15 Daniel Nakonechny Beit El
Reb shlomo 1231 You know dear friends, sometimes, I ask myself, after the destruction of the Holy Temple nearly two thousand years ago we still cannot stop thinking about it. How come? How come? Who ever heard of mourning for a house destroyed so long ago? But, let me tell you. Imagine that I loved this girl very much, and then we had a fight, but before we separated we agreed that once a year for eight days, that we would be as close as we once were. Can I then ever forget her? I want you to know that our Holy Rabbis teach us that on Chanuka we are once again in Jerusalem and not here in Poughkeepsie. We are not ordinary people on Chanuka, but we are all High Priests and we are kindling the lights in the Holy Temple. Kindling the Chanuka lights is a lesson in Jewish history. Knowing the past is vital, but living it and re-living it is the obligation of the Jew. History is important, but merely knowing facts is pagan, an aspect of Greek culture. A Jew survives in the present because he also experiences his past. And what is it about Chanuka that we celebrate? Not the amazing feat that seventy priests defeated a highly trained army of Greek soldiers. Do not think that Judah the Maccabbee, or his father Matisyahu, the High Priest studied military strategy. I can assure you that they never held a weapon in their hands before they fought the Greeks. A priest in the Temple does not train with weapons. The priests are the pillar of peace and forgiveness. Our Holy Rabbis taught us that Aaron, the first High Priest, loved peace and alvays pursued it. The Maccabees fought to restore the glory of G-d, but today we celebrate the miracle of the lights. Each day that the candles burned was a great miracle. G-d promised the Maccabees that the lights rekindled by them would burn forever. Each day that the candles burned was a great miracle. G-d promised the Maccabees that the lights rekindled by them would burn forever. Each day we add one more light. We must teach our children to remember the holy ancient lights, but also to add new lights, new ways. Modernity is not alien to religion, it enhances it. The young people of today are not unlike the young people in the days of the Maccabees. They too have strayed from their holy tradition. We need someone like Judah Maccabee to show us how beautiful it is to be a Jew. Young people must understand that G-d needs each of them to make a special contribution to our religion, that only they are capable of making. Every day we are supposed to add new lights. G-d wants even the most alienated person to be a shining light. On Chanuka we see in the shining lights only the beauty of people. You know what I consider the worst possible meeting that a person can attend-- a parents and teachers meeting, where teachers tell parents how bad their children are. Basically, parents see only good in their children, but unfortunately sometimes they let the bad things teachers tell them about their children affect them. A so-called rebellious child must be viewed like seeing Miss America in the mud-- she is still beautiful but all she needs is to be washed off. Yes, sometimes our children do not behave well and so require a little bit of fixing and that must not detract from the fact that they are still basically good. If we can transmit to our children how our grandparents blessed the Chanuka candles, then and only then can we guarantee that our grandchildren will also offer holy blessings over the candles and continue to serve as shining lights.
Torah Love Shlomo
Secret of the 5th night of Hanukah
"Sun and Moon"
A teaching by Reb Shlomo Carlebach
Monday eve is the darkest night of the year. The fifth candle
is called the quintessence (the fifth essence). We cross over
into the deepest darkness. It's the moon saying to the sun,
"I know last week was the shortest day of the year and that's
holy, but tonight is the darkest night and that's even
holier." It's the moon saying to the sun, "I know you are
powerful and I am just a little reflection of your light,
but reflections are very special."
I can't see myself as myself until I use a mirror. A reflection
let's me see myself. The Jewish people are moon people, not sun
people. The Greeks are terrific and so are the Romans but they
are all sun people. They brought a lot of light to the world in
the form of science and technology. Jews are the reflection
people, mirror people, and in our joy and suffering everyone
can see themselves. The sun is the big light. The moon is the
"lesser" light. It's better being lesser. All the little people
see themselves in our journey and that's the inner bigness of
smallness. Hanukkah reminds us never to forget lesser people
and forgotten people - all the other moon brothers and
sisters out there.
Darkness is ever better than light. In the sun I can see you
and you can see me. Seeing let's us see our distinctions, how
different we are. We see each other up close. In the night I
can't see you but I can feel you. When my eyes are closed or
it's dark outside I can't tell the difference between us. We
are even closer. Night is the time for romance, feeling really
close because we can't see so well.
Night is Mother Leah's time. Hanukkah is Mother Leah's holiday.
She had weak eyes which meant she only saw things in terms of
unity. She wanted love more than anyone in the world. Jacob
didn't even get how high she was because he kept using his
eyes. He just saw Rachel's beauty. But Leah's father-in-law
Isaac, he understood Leah more than anyone in the family.
He was nearly blind at the end of his life. He couldn't tell
the difference between his sons, that's how high he was.
Go outside at night. You can't see close but you can see a
million miles into the stars. Go outside during the day.
Too much light to see far away. Darkness is better than
light. That's why when mashiach (Messiah) comes we won't do
Hanukkah from one candle to eight. We'll do eight candles
to one like Rabbi Shammai said. But 2,000 years ago we weren't
high enough for Rabbi Shammai. We needed to add light because
we thought light was better than darkness. When Mr. or Ms.
mashiach comes we'll embrace the darkness. We won't fear our own
shadows. We'll know how to admit we are wrong without shame.
We'll say we're sorry quickly when we make a mistake because
we'll realize that saying sorry brings us into the secret of
darkness which only gets us to an even higher place.
The Jewish people are always asking everyone to say they're
sorry for what they've done to us. And it's true. The Romans
did this, the Greeks did that. The Egyptians did this, Russians
did that. The Poles did this and the Germans did that.
But this is the year we have to show the world the meaning of
being a moon person. What are we sorry for? This is a deep
question and until this year it made us all angry and too
anxious to even ask it. But the world is in terrible darkness
now and we have to lead the way. This is the secret
of the fifth night of Hanukkah.
Moshav Meor Modiim, Kislev 5747
Reprinted from Cong Kehilath Jacob News
Every person has two functions. One function of me and
the world, and then there is me and me, me and G-d.
Between, there are two kind of relationships, you and me
in the world, and then there is just you and me without the
world. Beyond the world. Deeper than the world.
How do you know how much you love a person? Are you aware
of the world when you are talking to them? If there is still a
sure you are close, but real closeness is when suddenly
the world stops.
Reb Nachman says, when you daven, there is me and the
world and G-d. But then slowly as you daven more, there is just
me and G-d. Then I go higher and higher, I stop to exist. There
is only G-d. The deepest secret is how do you keep it all together.
You know what happens when people come to Shul on Yom
Kippur. Why doesn't it last five minutes after? Because on Yom
Kippur if I'm so close to G-d, it is just me and G-d. But
the minute there is a world, G-d disappears. Let's say I love
this girl very much when I am with her. Then I walk out on the
street and already I forget that she exists.
How do you get it all together? Here I want you to know
something. The Greeks offer us a beautiful world, but that's
all. Yiddishkeit, basically offers us a world. There is only
one G-d, there is just me and G-d. So I want you to know something,
we lost our children because children want the world.
Sure they want to think sometimes that there is no world, just
you and me, you and G-d. But where is the beautiful world?
So Chanukah, the Hashmonean really got it together. They
brought in Chanukah lights. Everybody knows Chanukah is Mehadrin
min Hamedadrin, beautiful and more beautiful and we
kindle lights in the house. The house is a place where I'm
just alone, where I'm alone with my children. I'm kindling
lights by the floor and I'm shining into the world. Because the
real truth is the world doesn't tear you away from G-d or from
The time for Chanukah lights is at night. Basically the
night is a time when people can get so close because during
the night the world doesn't exist so much. But there is a
The Hashmoneim say, "Gevalt Master of the world, let me
kindle the chanukah lights!" Do you know what is so special
about the lights? You are able to see them and yet it is
"Ohr Haganuz", a hidden light that you know not to be an
ordinary light or just a candle burning. It is full of secrets,
full of mystery, full of the deepest depths. It means that
while I see something I'm always aware that there is something
deeper, so much deeper, the part where the world doesn't reach.
When I love someone very much, I see them, they are there,
but I also know, there is so much more.
The Torah says about our Mother Sarah, "hinei bo-ohel",
Behold, she is in the tent. The mother fixes for children their
relationship to G-d without the world. There is something
between a mother and children that is so close; it has nothing to
do with the world. The father is supposed to give over to
children how to believe in G-d in the world,
Everybody knows that the woman is the house. Sarah,
"hinei bo-ohel'. So Chanukah the deepest fixing is "Eesh
ubeisso", a man and his house. Mamesh, the husband and wife
together, it is the world and without the world, beyond the world.
It is so beautiful that you can't take your eyes off it, and
yet you know that you don't really see it because it is so much
deeper, and the deepest depths is that all the children are
kindling lights also.
I don't have to make sure that my little boy of seven puts
on Tefillin. But my little boy, my little girl of five, are kindling
Chanukah lights. Because, maybe what I see is seven years
old, but the part I can't see is ancient, eternal, forever,
beyond time and space. On Chanukah I put it all together because
I'm truly close to children when I know that what I see
is only a small part of they really are.
You know, the Greeks say the world is only what you see.
On Chanukah I say, yes I see a world, it is beautiful, but
Our Holy Sages teach us, "We are not permitted to make any
use of them except watching them" I look at the lights and
see everything nobody sees.
You know friends, Israel is the same way. Everybody knows
that on Chanukah we fix our eyes. We fix the sin of the spies.
Because what was wrong there? The spies looked at Israel and
saw only what they saw. They didn't see that which can't he
seen. But when you see what you can't see, then you took again
and you see a different world. And everybody knows that on
Chanukah, when you kindle the lights, suddenly every house
becomes a different world. Suddenly every house is Israel,
every house is the Holy Temple, and every child that kindles
the light is the High Priest. Good Yom Tov.
Torah 18 Moshav Meor Modiim, Kislev 5745 Reprinted from Cong Kehilath Jacob News Dear Friends, The Talmud says the story of Chanukah is not written down and the Holy Rabbis comment that until the Moshiach comes, we are still in the middle of the story of Chanukah. There are still the Greeks who want to defile everything holy that we have, and the Greeks In all shapes and forms, under the flag of holiness or culture, who drag our children into all the pagan temples. But there are still somewhere the High Priest and his children who save Israel. And there is still somewhere buried within every Jew one drop of pure oil. And it is still in every generation that we think that the light will not last more than one night and in every generation the miracle happens, the light lasts forever. Everybody knows tha G-d is signing on Yom Kippur, and Aharon the High Priest, in the name of all Israel is signing on the last days of Chanukah. And this has millions of meanings. Let me share with you one, On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur I stand before G-d as an individual, asking G-d for forgiveness, hoping and praying for another good year. On Chanukah, it is all of Israel. And unless all of Israel, unless G-d's light will burn forever, unless my children come back from all the pagan temples, and unless I find again that one drop of oil which is untouched by all the ugliness of the so-called Greeks, I don't want to live. But can the world be without Jews? Can even G-d be without us? Can the world be without the Holy Temple? Can the world be without a High Priest? Can the world exist without our children kindling holy lights every night? So therefore on Chanukah, the energy is not into eating, having a feast like every other Yom Tov, because, so to speak, I am standing by the door of my house and I say to G-d that unless my children be forever Chanukah lights, I'm walking out on you. And by the door with great joy and great thanksgiving, G-d is sealing us, sealing us into the Book of Eternity. You see, my beautiful friends, at Yom Kippur we are sealed into the Book of Life and with Chanukah the sealing is into the Book of Eternity, And only the High Priest who sealed the one drop of pure oil can sign you and me and all of Israel into that Book, the book of all books, the secret light of the Torah . Shlomo
From: Michael Ozair Torah 19
Subject: Neila's bio of R Shlomo p ii
(part II of neila's bio of r shlomo)
Shlomo was offered a position as a rabbi and he had
to complete his studies. He approached Rav Isaac Hutner,
the Rosh Yeshiva of Chaim Berlin, to give him the oral exam
necessary for smichah. Two months and two weeks later, he
was awarded yoreh, yoreh, yadin, yadim, the highest level of
At this time, a former Chaim Berlin student recalls,
One day there was a sign on the bulletin board with the large
letters kumzits Below, it said kumzits and See that G-d
is Good. Join Shlomo Carlebach for a kumsitz, and it gave
an address. We heard that Shloime was taking boys and girls,
some from public schools, and they were sitting on the floor
with candles lit and singing together. That is how he tried to
mekarev them, bringing them closer to Judaism.
That kind of evening become Shlomo’s hallmark. While
singing into the early morning hours, Shlomo awakened thousands
of Jewish souls and rekindled the faith and fervour of countless
I attended hundreds of such evenings and never ceased
being moved as I watched the dawning of a soul-connection to
a thought or a lilting melody. Every city in the world
we visited boasted of a Shlomo group that waited eagerly for
his arrival. His visits were described as spiritual injections,
Everyone knew the songs, and all were led into his way of
learning Chassidut. And most importantly, everyone spoke Shlomo’s
language: Hey brother, peace... what’s happenin ... mamash ... you
look sharp like a dog ... gevalt, is this deep ... so open your
hearts ... give me your sweetest, cutest attention. We all knew
the lingo, how to roll our eyes toward heaven and raise our hands in
resignation to the Almighty, and how to freely hug each other in a
fraternal pact of soul-friendship.
We were Shlomo’s chevra , connected to the highest of the high
and the holiest of the holy From wealthy homes in Mexico, Caracas,
Toronto and Fifth Avenue penthouses in New York, to rabbi’s
homes in Johannesburg, Miami and London, to banquet halls all
over the world, to parlors in Leningrad, Bombay, Sydney and
Bucharest, to Shlomo’s House of Love and Prayer, 79th Street
Synagogue in New York and the Moshav in Israel, people of all
ages and in all walks of life rejoiced in their heritage, with
Shlomo guiding them to the home of their souls - with kindness
and patience. Shlomo was so accessible, so loving, he became
everyone’s best friend.
In New Jersey where he had his first pulpit, Shlomo would
sit at the piano and write and sing songs. He eventually accumulated
an eager audience. For teaching his Sunday school classes the
aleph bet with his guitar, for telling parents not to yell at
their kids so much, and for letting his cheder students deliver
the droshes on Shavuot to combat the talking, Shlomo got fired.
He took solace in the fact that the Baal Shem Tov was also fired
from his job as a teacher for playing with the children after
school, and that maybe G-d wanted him to sing rather than to teach.
With enough songs composed to cut a record, Shlomo launched
his singing career and was an immediate success.
He was an original and he single-handedly changed the face
of Jewish music. For years he played only for religious people,
but he realized that he could make a difference in the lives of
the non-religious as well. The Berkeley Folk Festival might open
this door for him, he believed, if he could get there.
Shortly thereafter, he gave a concert in Miami Beach.
A couple approached him with the Jewish parent’s most famous
line, Do I have a daughter for you! Without thinking, Shlomo
autographed a record with his best wishes to their daughter, who
coincidentally and unbeknownst to Shlomo, was a professor of
sociology at Berkeley. She loved the record and played it constantly.
As fate would have it, Shlomo’s niggunim wafting through the
June air at Berkeley attracted a neighbour who was none other than the
organizer of the Berkeley festival. Shlomo was just the eccentric he
On the bill with acts like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson
Airplane and Joan Baez, Shlomo admitted to being nervous at
first, but then I mamash saw thousands, thousands of kids,
who were waiting for the highest. And I had a little bit of
nosay chen, I found favor in their eyes; they liked me.
Only Pete Seeger and humble me had a standing ovation. It was a gevaldt.
Never one to let an opportunity pass, he announced that he
would be going to shul at 7:30 the next morning and invited anyone
who wanted to join him to meet at his hotel.he was expecting
maybe 10, kids. I don’t know how many there were. Anywhere
between 1,000 and 2,000 kids were waiting
for me. It was unbelievable.
In 1966, the House of Love and Prayer was born, the first
center for baalei teshuvah. Literally thousands of people poured
through the doors for Shabbat and when the doors
were jammed with the crowds, they entered through the windows.
Shabbat would end in the wee small hours. Shlomo opened the
world of Yiddishkeit to Jewish kids who had not only given up
on being Jewish but also on being part of society. It was
because Shlomo believed that every person was special and that
every soul was worth crying with, that so many people trusted
him enough to connect to their Jewish roots.
In 1970, Shlomo had the opportunity to travel to Russia.
from recent immigrants, he had heard that his music was circulating
in places as far as Siberia. He went to add strength and give more
hope to the Jews behind the Iron Curtain. Word spread that Shlomo
would be davening in the shul in Moscow on Simchat Torah. In spite
of the spies and the informers, Shlomo circulated among the crowd
hugging and greeting people and quietly inviting them to this hotel.
With the KGB following him, his hotel room bugged for sound and
restrictions against Russians entering hotels, Shlomo managed to
sing for hours to over 100 people who somehow snuck into his
room. With more than the sound of his voice singing and talking,
he uplifted the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to be
there, as well as all those who subsequently got even a 10th
generation copy of the few tapes that were made.
I was privileged to return to the Soviet U ion with him in
1989. The experience was totally transforming for me, for the
friends who traveled with us and for the 52,000 with whom he sang
and danced, whom he taught and kissed. He said that the Russian
Jews were being persecuted for connecting to Israel. Therefore,
it was so important to Shlomo that their vision of Israel be holy.
He also wanted to have the privilege of telling the Russians how
special they themselves were.
Shlomo heard their stories and songs, gave them Hebrew names,
bat and bar mitzvah hed multitudes and hugged every man, woman and
child, Jew and non-Jew within reach.
I cried when every person suddenly lit a candle and opera
hall was alight with thousands of little candles waving in totally
silent tribute. I saw the tears rolling down Shlomo’s cheeks as
he shouted, Yidden, never give up, never give up. Miraculously,
glasnost, perestroika and the dissolution of Communism followed.
Shlomo also reached out to the non-Jewish world. In the
late 60 ‘s he gave his card and offered friendship to the Arabs
in Israel. He sat on ecumenical panels with gurus, swamis and
priests. He was invited to an audience with Pope John XXIII;
unfortunately the Pope died before they could meet. To
one swami who asked Shlomo after an incredible concert whether he
was trying to steal his followers, Shlomo replied, G-d forbid,
brother, I was just borrowing some of mine back. EE Shlomo was a
guest of the Catholic Church both in Belgium, where he taught
Tehillim, Psalms, to monks and nuns, and in Austria, where he
traveled to small towns to play for villagers who had never met
a Jew. he said that it wasn’t enough for him to makarev Yidden
anymore. He wanted to bring peace to the world. He said that
if world leaders would sing and dance with each other instead of
just talking, peace would come faster.
When the Pope visited New York last month, at one of his open
air meetings attended by hundreds of thousands of people, the Pope
swayed and clapped to a niggun Shlomo had written, L leman achai vereyai
set to English words, the same niggun the chazzan at Shaarei Shomoyim
in Toronto sang during musaf before Yom Kippur last month. Mashiach
must be on the way.
I remember Shlomo in so many places and in such extraordinary
circumstances. He was always gentle and alive. His eyes and smile
had a life of their own; they made miracles happen. I remember
Sukkot in the House of Love and Prayer, where we prayed until well
after midnight with a longing that changed my life, and where around
350 people slept in the sukkah every night. I remember Shlomo holding
our babies and kissing continuously saying, abela, are you the
sweetest in the world? I remember being Shlomo’s mezuzah; he never
passed me without kissing me. I remember our walking in the moshav
in Israel late at night. He would always stop to breathe deeply
and tell me how good the air was in Eretz Yisrael.
I remember his Shabbat; the lecha Dodi would last an hour
as we truly welcomed the Shabbat bride, every week. I remember
kiddush levana, blessing the new moon in Jerusalem till 3 a.m.
and how the police who were called to remove us from the road,
stayed with us and sang until 5.
I remember Shlomo’s passionate outcry when he saw a religious
Jew hitting his child. He told him to take off his yarmulke and
tzitzit, that G-d didn’t need his kind of Yiddishkeit. I remember
Shlomo hurting inside and being angry when people stole his music
or lied, saying he had given them the rights to his music, or
didn’t pay him royalties or for concerts.
I remember Shlomo running back to the shul to get food and
a jacket for a homeless man on Yom Tov and chasing a street person
on Monday with the money he promised to give him when he
was asked on Shabbos.
I remember Arabs, Jews and guards dancing and crying together
in jail in Israel after an hour with Shlomo. My only surprise was
that Mashiach didn’t come that minute.
I know that G-d gave this generation a gift; I know that I
love more people than I imagined I could ever know; I know that I
have to learn a little Torah every day. I know I can still hardly
bear the thought that Shlomo, the sweet singer of Israel, is no
longer here. But I do feel him hovering between worlds; I know he
is still working his magic. I know that he is sitting at G-d’s
right hand bargaining with him to do more for His Yidden.
G-d bless you Shlomo. Bless us to know how to love all our
brothers and sisters.
Mamash, thank you for everything ... Till we meet again
TORAHS FROM THE HEART
THE LIGHT OF CHANUKAH by RABBI SHLOMO CARLEBACH
Everybody knows that Chanukah is really the end of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur
and Simchas Torah. That means that the High Holidays are all beautiful, but
the highest point of them all is on Chanukah.
On Rosh Hashanah, I am in awe before the King of kings. On Yom Kippur, I
stand before G*d again and measure myself. Inside I am saying to myself, 'I
did such and such good deeds and such and such
not so good deeds.' But on Chanukah I stop thinking this way altogether because the deepest question is not how many evil deeds
and how many good deeds I have done. The deepest question is
"What do I have inside of me?" When the whole story is over, what remains
inside of me? How do I feel? Am I closer than I ever was
with G*d? Am I in touch with the inside of my soul? Is there any light left in my heart? Where am I? If after all these questions, I
discover that there is still light left inside of me, then I owe it to the world. I must be the one to help bring the Mashiach. I must
be the one to open the doors for G*d's Light to shine into the world.
However, if after all these questions, I am still left in the dark; if after all these holidays, the world around me is still in the dark,
then I must ask myself, 'What good was it all?' On Yom Kippur,
G*d forgives us for our mistakes. On Simchas Torah we dance
them all off. But that still does not answer the question, 'When
does G*d fix our hearts? When does G*d take all the hatred and pain from our
hearts? When are we healed? When does G*d give us back
the holiness of once again being able to see that Light in others and
being able to bless them in our own hearts? When do we recognize
the Light in ourselves and in all of those beautiful people around us?' The answer my beautiful friends, is on Chanukah. Chanukah is the time of the Macabees, descendents of Aaron the High Priest. Aaron's
specialty was making peace between people. How can someone make peace between
people? Aaron HaCohen had the level of holiness of actually being able to
cleanse a person's heart of all hatred and
pain. It was only after that cleansing that they could see the light in
others and make peace with the entire world around them. This is
a very special blessing he gave to us. Face it. If each time I make a mistake, I feel more bitterness towards others, its only because
I feel bitterness towards myself. And with every bit of this
bitterness, I become further and further away from my neshama (my soul), and
from my own heart. On Yom Kippur, it may be that G*d fixes my soul. But its
on Chanukah that the Great Light shines into
my heart. And so when I stand before a mirror, I see a beautiful
person instead of a shmendrik. So on Chanukah, my beautiful friends, the
lights are burning, even into the darkest hours of the night. And while that
light flickers, we are praying, "Master of the World,
if it is my mistakes that have kept me in darkness, let this Chanukah Light
shine into all areas of my darkness. Let this Chanukkah Light keep me from ever hating people. Let this Chanukah Light give me so much
holiness that all the darkness of the world can not take away
my love for myself and all the beautiful people." And so I want to
bless you and bless myself that this Chanukah should fix us and its Light should reach the darkest corners of our hearts. And we should all be blessed to realize that when we do kindle a candle, it is G*d's Light we have brought into the world.
Subject: CHANUKA:Sweet, Short Shlomo Torahs bs"d Hanukkah Torahs from Reb Shlomo Carlbach, zt"l 1. Hanukkah: The Higher Road to G-d I want to share something deep with you. There are all kinds of doing teshuvah (repentance). Basically, the way repentance usually works is I say to G-d, "I'm sorry I did it," and then I make up a hundred excuses as to why I made all my mistakes. On Hanukkah it's very different. When I am longing to go home, the road is entirely different. Imagine that I was doing wrong my entire life and I just don't want to go back to all my mistakes anymore. This time, I am longing, really longing for that one place in the world where I can knock on the door and I no longer need to make excuses about my past. Instead I just want to go home and find out where it is that I need to be living. And so when it is Hanukkah and I am knocking, the doors suddenly open up for me, and they say, "I'm so glad you came back, what took you so long?" On Yom Kippur, when I come back to G-d, it's very different. When I return I'm still making excuses. I begin to tell G-d a very long story. But on Hanukkah, it's different. Hanukkah is so holy and G-d's Light is shining from such a high place, that I don't need to say anything about my mistakes or my past. I just stand by the door, finding myself right before G-d's Light and I say, "Ribbono Shel Olam", "Master of the Universe" Please, can I stay here forever? Can my house be a Temple for You once again? Can You once again teach me how to live in your Light? Additionally, on Yom Kippur, when I stand before G-d, I promise G-d that I will learn Torah day and night. But on Hannukah, I am saying to G-d, "I can ony read one line. Perhaps it is nothing. But please, please, let this one line of Torah shine into me until I am so filled with it, that I realize how deep and precious it is.". 2. The Kindling of Lights The blessing we say over the light is "to kindle the light of Hanukkah". What we don't say is "to kindle the light on Hanukkah.".That means that the light is already there. All we have to do is kindle it and realize that it is ours. The light that we are seeing today is the same light of my grandfather and your grandfather. It is the light of the holy priests, the Cohanim. The light that burned into miracles for our ancestors. It's all the same light. And it waits all year long in heaven to be brought down through our kindling. 3. The Gates of Heaven Are Open .The Baal Shem Tov teaches that wherever a Jew reaches on Yom Kippur, which is to a very high place, and to wherever a Jew reaches on Simchas Torah, it cannot compare to where the lowest Jew reaches on Hanukkah night. And for all those prayers which were not entered on Yom Kippur, when we kindle Hanukkah light, mamash (really) at that moment all the gates of Heaven are open to us. 4. For a Few Moments Only On Pesach (Passover), I need to eat Matzah (all the holiday). On Sukkos, I also need to spend all my time there (in a sukkah). But on Hanukkah, the mitzvah is for a few moments only. It's Yontif (holiday) all day, but the kindling is only for a few minutes. So this is a Torah from the Maharal: Anything that causes us to reach beyond ourselves, we can only take in small measures. You can blow your mind, but only for a few minutes, not a whole 24 hours.And so for those few minutes, G-d reveals to me that Great Light which is the "Orh HaGanuz", "The Hidden Light". You see, the light we have today is not the light that G-d wanted us to have. In the beginning, He gave us a Light that was beyond this world, when He said, "Let there be light". But we weren't ready for it. And so this Inside Light, the Light of Mashiach (Messiah), the Real Light, was hidden from the world. But once a year, during those eight days, for only a few moments, G-d reveals that Inside Light to us. Why is it only for a few moments? Because even if it's for a few moments, when I see it, even for once in my entire life, its Light shines in me forever. 5. Beyond Forgiveness .Rebbe Nachman teaches that on Yom Kippur, G-d forgives us. But it's not until Hanukkah that G-d gives us back that Light (between us). On Hanukkah, the Light is back between us. And the Light is so deep, so intimate. Hanukkah is the holiday of Aaron HaCohen, the High Priest. We all know that on Yom Kippur, the High Priest would walk into the Holy of Holies to ask for G-d's forgiveness. But what do I need a High Priest in the Holy of Holies for on Yom Kippur, if Moshe already came back from Heaven bringing us the two tablets as a sign of G-d's forgiveness? Do I need more than forgiveness? Ah, "gevaldt", I need so much more than forgiveness. I need intimacy. I need to be so much closer to G-d than forgiveness can bring me. So Aaron HaCohen didn't go into the Holy of Holies to ask for our forgiveness. He went in after we were already forgiven. Instead, he went into the Holy of Holies to bring down the Light of Intimacy for his people. 6. The Macabees Vs. the Greeks What is the fight between the Macabees and the Greeks? The Greeks don't mind what you do, as long as your heart is not connected to what you are doing.The Macabees held that [Greek culture was] "Avodah Zara". "Avoda Zara" literally translates as strange worship. That means pagan worship is worship you are a stranger to. You are serving G-d, but you are serving G-d like a stranger. What does it mean to serve G-d like a stranger? It means that we observe the holidays, but who cares about it? We don't feel anything before the holiday, and we don't feel anything afterwards. We leave the holiday feeling the same as when we entered them. Today we are still suffering from Greek culture. But every year on Hanukaah, we are on fire once again and we are wiping away Avoda Zara. To do this, everything we do has to flow from the deepest depths of our hearts. 7. Adding Lights .You know, the first night [of Hanukka the oil] it burnt all night but did not consume even one drop of oil. On the next night it was the same, and so on.The miracle of the Hanukkah light is that Light was being given to the world without any consumption. .nobody likes to be consumed, nobody wants to have their wings cut.Hanukka is when I realize that I have my own unique light and I can add it to others.G-d says to every Yid (Jew), you can add your own light to the Torah. You know what kept us alive for 2000 years of exile? Not the Chumash -- the Gemora kept us alive, right?. 8. Shlomo's Last Hanukkah Message to the World (Dec. 1994) When G-d created the world, when He spoke for the first time, He said, "Let there be light." The world cannot exist without light. My soulmate can be standing next to me, but if there's no light I don't see her. There can be a treasure next to me but I won't see it. The world is still dark, because the deepest light in the world is to see your own heart, to really see the people you love, to really see the deepest depths of life, the deepest depths of the Torah. Sadly enough, most of us have to go through a lot of Greek darkness until we find the Light, the Real Light, the everlasting one. Israel goes through heavy times and the situation is a little bit dark, because we don't know where it's leading to. Just as on Hanukkah the miracle of lights happened in Israel, in the Holy Temple, [so] let the miracle happen this year that we see each other, that we see the world and that the world sees us. I want our children to grow up with that Light. We kindle the lights at the window begging the world, stop living in darkness! Here is the Light from Jerusalem. Let it be. Good Hanukkah, Good Yom Tov, G-d needs every light of Hanukkah. G-d needs every Jewish home. The world needs every Jewish home to fill the whole world with Light.
Shlomo on Chanukah - Los Angeles 1981
I believe that this Chanukah Torah of Shlomo's (which apparently Shlomo gave over at the then home of Josh & Lillian Ritchie) reached me through the ongoing kindness of Netanel Shor. If I did get it from Netanel, then I'm confident of the accuracy, because Netanel is very careful with any Shlomo material in his possession. However, if anyone discovers any inaccuracies, please correct them and post them. Daniel
[One note: There is an argument among those who transcribe Shlomo's Torah about how to do so. Should the message be reproduced in grammatically correct language, i.e. 'cleaned up', and thus preserving the essence of Shlomo? Or should it be reproduced as Shlomo spoke it and thus bringing Shlomo himself? This Torah is of the latter school and so am I, and therefore I have made only minor emendations because it is always impossible to reproduce in writing spontaneous speech. (We can't even do it for ourselves, and we know how we think, so then how much more difficult is it to capture another.)]
Shlomo on Chanukah - Los Angeles 1981
Chanukah is the holiday when you open doors of your heart and the doors of your house. You put your holy candle by the door. You truly want your light to shine into the whole world.
Everyone knows that water is pure and fire is holy. Leave water aside for the moment. Why is fire holy? Fire is holy because you can kindle an infinite number of candles from one candle.
I have an apple and I give it to you. If you have the apple and I don't have the apple anymore, then I really didn't want to give it to you.
Yes, I gave it to you. But I had trouble doing it. So you have the apple now, and I don't have it anymore.
If I completely wanted to give you the apple, you would have the apple and I would have the apple.
Fire so deeply and so completely wants the world to have light that you can give the fire of one candle to another a candle, and the light of the first candle is still there.
So there are two kinds of giving. If I give something, and it don't have it anymore, then I have no right to give it. But, imagine that I could reach the level of giving like fire gives.
The Torah is called fire. "Mi'Mino aishdat la'mo." [D'varim 33:2] - >From His [God's] right hand is fiery law for them. [Torah is] God's fire. You give it over to other people, but you still have it.
The difference between holy things and ordinary things is very simple.
You do not long after ordinary things once you get them. You have them, and your yearning is fulfilled. When it comes to holy things, even if you have them you still long for them very much.
How do you know if you have the holy Shabbos? You don't have it if you only go through the motions and keep Shabbos. O.K., you can go to heaven for keeping Shabbos. The question is: "Do you have Shabbos?" You only have Shabbos if you are longing for it. You have it if you miss it all the time.
'L'hadlik ner shel Chanukah' (to kindle the light of Chaukah) = the mnemonic [in Hebrew]: 'Nafshainu Hichasa laHaShem' - our neshamot
(souls) are anticipating [lit: waiting] for HaShem [God].
Why does fire flicker all the time? Fire flickers because it is longing so much for something holy and exalted.
I want to share something that blew my mind.
Everybody knows that Chanukah is the real end of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Simchas Torah. That means that the High Holidays may be beautiful, but the real point of it all is Chanukah.
The Holy Ba'al Shem Tov says that wherever a Jew reaches Yom Kippur (which is a very high place) and wherever a Jew reaches on Simchas Torah (which is also a very high place) do not compare to where the lowest Jew can reach on Chanukah night.
I don't need a house for any of the other holidays. I can eat matzah in the street. I can blow shofar in the street. On Succos I am definitely in the street. On Shavuous I can learn wherever I want to. On one holiday, Chanukah, I really need a house. I have to kindle the lights at the door post of my house.
A house means permanence. I live there. It is my place. Also, spiritually it means that I have a place somewhere. I am permanent somewhere.
Light is the level of the reaching higher than yourself, deeper than everything in the world. You can learn something and know more or feel more. This is not the level of light yet. Sometimes you learn a word and it gets very deep in your heart. Suddenly you reach somewhere deeper than the deepest part of yourself. This is called light. That is where you have your house.
I can love a girl without building a house. Then one day I meet a girl and suddenly I am besides myself. I am deeper than myself. I build a house with this woman.
The house is the one place where you are yourself. More isn't the best word. You are really yourself. You reach so deep that it is infinite.
On Yom Kippur you stand before God and measure yourself. You did so and so many sins. You did so and so many good deeds. On Chanukah you stop talking about all that.
The deepest question is not really how many evil deeds you do and how many good deeds you do. The deepest question is, "What do you have in the deepest depths of you?" After the whole story is over, what remains with you? What is permanent inside of you? What is your house? Where are you? Is there any light in your heart? If there is light deep inside you, then you are the one to help bring the Messiah. You are the one to open the doors for God's light to shine into the world. But if after you do everything, the world is still dark what good was it all?
What does it means to be beside yourself. It means that you are longing for the deepest depths. You didn't even know that you were capable of longing for something so deep and so holy.
What is the fight between the Maccabees and the Greeks? The Greeks don't mind what you do. Do anything you want. But don't put your heart into it. You want to keep Shabbos? Why not? Just don't put your heart into it. You want to have a house, a Holy Temple? Why not? Just don't put your heart into it.
On Chanukah we want to wipe our pagan worship. In Hebrew pagan worship is called, 'Avodah Zarah' - strange worship. That means pagan worship is worship that you are a stranger to. You are serving God, but you are serving God like a stranger. You do everything like stranger. The whole meaning of Chanukah is that we are wiping out 'Avodah Zara', wiping out 'strange worship'. Everything we do has to flow from the deepest depths of our hearts.
Many of us Jews are strangers to our own holidays. We are strangers to everything holy. We do it, but who cares about it? We don't feel anything before we celebrate a holiday, and we don't feel anything afterwards.
This morning I was in shule during Hallel. I didn't know if the people were reading the stock market sections or they were reading Hallel. I had to look to see that they were reading Hallel. Hallel says, "Thank God for all the miracles." You have to DO it!
Why are we losing our children? There is nothing in the Yiddishkeit that we offer them. If you tell children something and it doesn't come from the deepest depths of your heart, they don't want to listen. They are 100% right. To tell the truth, I don't want to buy it either.
I want to bless you and me and all our children that we should always find people to teach us about God. We should feel close to it. We should feel at home with it.
Moshe Rabbainu (Moses, our teacher) was master of teaching us what to do. Why are the Hashmoneans the children of Aaron the High Priest? Why are they the ones to bring Chanukah? Aaron the High Priest sat in the Tent of Meeting. Any time a Jew came in and said, "I made so many mistakes," Aaron the High Priest would make them feel at home again with God and with Yiddishkeit.
You have to feel at home. You have to know where you live.
I want to share something very deep with you. There are all kinds of doing teshuvah (all kinds of repentance). Basically, repentance means saying to God, "I'm sorry I did it." Then I make hundreds of excuses.
Imagine I'm doing wrong my entire life. I don't just want to go back. I am longing for one place in the world where I can knock on the door and I don't even have to make any excuses. They just say, "I'm so glad you came back."
On Yom Kippur I come back to God, but I'm still making excuses. I tell Him a long story. Chanukah is so holy, and God's light is shining from such a high place that I don't say anything about what I did. I just stand by the door. I look at God's light, and I say, "Ribbono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe, please can't I stay here forever? Can my house be God's house again?"
On Yom Kippur, when I stand before God, I promise God that I will learn day and night. On Chanukah I say to God, "I can only read one line. I am nothing. Please let this one line shine into me until I realize how deep and special it is."
If we danced with our children each time they learned one more letter, they would keep on learning. Each time a child learns one letter it is mind blowing! If we realized this, each time a child learned one more word of Torah we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves for joy. Then our children would keep on learning.
Each night of Chanukah I see my child kindle one more light. All day long I am beside myself with joy. I say Hallel. I can't sleep at night.
I just don't know what to do with myself.
That is the way [that] God is about us. Each time I do something God blows His mind over it. The only problem is that I don't feel it. Then Chanukah comes. God opens all the gates. God's light shines into the world. Suddenly I realize that my life, whenever I did a little more than I did the day before, I kindled the great in Heaven. I changed the history of the Jewish people. I didn't know when I was doing it what effect I was having.
So Chanukah is the time I educated myself. Chanukah comes from the word 'chinuch' - education. Also, I see the way that God has been educating me. On Chanukah I swear, "Ribbono Shel Olam, I swear to you that I will educate my children the way that you educate me."
The blessing that we say over the light is, 'l'hadlik ner shel Chanukah'
- to kindle the light of Chanukah. We don't say, '…b'Chanukah' - to kindle the light on Chanukah. We kindle the light OF Chanukah. That means that the light is there already. We have only to kindle it. The light we are seeing right now is the light of my grandfather and your grandfather. It is actually the light of the Kohanim, the Priests. It is the same light that burned from the bit of oil which lasted eight days in the time of the Holy Temple. It's the SAME light. It is waiting in Heaven all year to be brought down through kindling of the Chanukah lamps.
We have to make things which are from this world. You have to make a Succah. You have to make tefillin. You can't make fire. You cannot create fire. It is not of the world. You strike a match, and it is there. Or you put one fire next to a candle and the candle will have a fire. All you have to do is get the candle and the fire close together.
When you get them close together, then the fire is right there.
Rav Nachman said that any time you make a mistake, you hate one person in the world. This is because a mistake makes your heart unholy.
Obviously, the people who hate the whole world have made many mistakes.
I want to share something unbelievable with you. On Yom Kippur, God forgives us for our mistakes. On Simchas Torah we dance them off. When does God fix our hearts? When does He take out all the hatred and all the evil from our hearts? When does God give us back the holiness of seeing somebody else's light and saying a blessing over it? When do we see that somebody else's light is SO beautiful?
Chanukah is the time of Aaron the High Priest. Aaron's specialty was making peace between two people. How can someone make peace between people? Aaron HaKohen had the holiness of being able to actually cleanse a person's heart of hatred. This is a very special blessing.
Each time you make a mistake you hurt somebody. But you know what else?
Each time you make a mistake, sadly enough, you love your children less.
Your heart is not pure enough any more. Children need a pure heart. The need the purest light.
When does God clean our hearts again so we can have the privilege of giving over Torah to our children? On Chanukah.
The holiness of Chanukah lights is that they burn even in the middle of the night. We are crying, "If I make mistakes again next year, let this Chanukah light shine oil into all my darkness. Let this Chanukah light keep me from ever hating people. Let this Chanukah light give me so much holiness that all the darkness of the world can not take away my love for my children." Chanukah is the highest kind of fixing the world.
If each time you make a mistake you hate somebody else, let's face it, each time you make a mistake you hate yourself. Each time you make a mistake you get further away from your own neshamah, from your own heart. On Yom Kippur God fixes your soul. But when does your light shine again? When can you look in the mirror and see a great light instead of a shmendrik? When do you see your light again? On Chanukah.
All year long whatever you do you think is nothing. Whenever you do anything you think, "It's bad. It's stupid. It's nothing." This is because you think so little of yourself. On Chanukah you kindle a candle and you know it's God's light. You realize you are bringing down God's light. You realize that you have been bringing God's light down into the world all year long.
I want to bless you and bless myself that this Chanukah should fix us.
It should reach the darkest corners in our hearts.
Everybody knows that the nights of Chanukah are the longest and the darkest nights. This means that the light of Chanukah reaches into the darkest places. In the dark night I suddenly realize, "Gevalt, this is God's light!"
Good Chanukah. Good Yontif.
According to the Shulchan Aruch, you really should have a feast after you kindle the Chanukah lights. It's not a joke. It is not a sweet custom. It says right in the Shulchan Aruch, "After you kindle the lights, make a feast."
Yet you really have to keep your eyes focused on the Chanukah lights.
Even if you walk away, you have to watch them. So let's focus our eyes in a very strong way. The light of Chanukah should be in our eyes all the time.
I know that Lillian and Josh [Ritchie] are real Chanukah people. Their light is burning at the door all year long. I know they prepared the highest feast. Your light should shine forever. Your children's light should shine forever. [Shlomo]
26 Kislev 5766