The Jewish Eye
Chanukah: Answer To The Bais Yosef's Question - You Are The Eighth Candle
The Bais Yosef answers his own famous question as to why we celebrate eight nights if there was one jug for enough oil for the first night, by saying that on the first night the jug remained full even after pouring it out into the menorah. In that case, the Nes of the eighth night would need to be explained, since they were able to empty its contents knowing that the new oil would arrive the next day.
I asked a passenger in my car this morning if he has a good answer and after giving it some thought he said, "we are the eighth candle". After hearing his words reverberate in my mind, I thought maybe we can explain as follows.
Chanuka was the last official Yom Tov that Chazal made. Since Chanuka we have not established any new Yomim Tovim. Rav Tzvi Mayer Zilberberg brings from the Sfas Emes says that the light we absorb from the Chanuka candles sustains us through the Galus until the light of Moshiach shines so bright.
The purpose of lighting candles is Pirsumei Nisa, we want to publicize the Nes. Our existence in this long and bitter galus is truly miraculous. In one way or another, we have been subject to oppression and attempts to exterminate us from just about every single nation that has ruled the land. Yet like oil, even if you pour water on it, it does not disappear, it floats to the top. After every oppression we float right back to the top. Just like the light of the menorah, in Galus we are not a torch which shines bright. We are the little flame from a a single wick. We bounce around in the wind giving off little light but we stay lit.
While the candles publicize the nes that happened many years ago, it is we who stand here over two thousand years later who are the greatest testament to the Nes of Chanuka. Jews still exist among the wolves that have all taken their turns at tearing us to shreds. Thriving yeshivos still echo the sounds of the Torah of old. We have survived!
"We are the eighth candle." On Leil Shmini (as in Shemen) we are the light that refuses to die. We are a truly miraculous light. A light that will remain steadfast for another year. B'Ezras Hashem it will be a year in which our light will finally shine bright as we are engulfed in the brilliant light of Moshiach.
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