After the Maccabean Revolt over the Syrian-Greeks, the Jews reclaimed the holy Temple of Jerusalem. To rededicate the temple, and resume the performance rituals they needed pure oil with the seal of the High Priest to light the Temple menorah. They could only find one small pure cruze of oil, enough to keep the flames burning for one day, but miraculously it lasted for eight.
Since that revealed miracle of supernatural light some 2,200 years ago, we celebrate Chanukah as a cumulative spiritual process through which over the course of 8 nights the number of candles grow. A total of 36 candles are kindled to reveal the light of creation.
With Hashem uttering the words "Let there be light," his creation of the world emerged. His primordial light illuminated the world for 36 hours, Friday noon through Shabbat day. It is said that Adam could see from the end of the world until its other end revealing the inner wisdom of purpose and truth to mankind.
But for the purpose of creation to be actualized and the mandate of overcoming darkness to be manifested, this holy light was hidden from the universe and stored for a time yet to come. However, once every year on Chanukah this special light comes back through kindling the 36 candles.
Hashem also took these 36 hours of light and saved it for the 36 tzadikim who live in every generation. These 36 elevated souls sustain, nurture and guard this light. The 36 are concealed, unassuming, and virtually unknown yet these 36 righteous people are sparks of this Hidden Light.
The word ohr (light) is written in the Torah 36 times. It is also the 25th word in the Torah and is celebrated on the 25th of Kislev. The ohr of Chanukah is the antidote to all the tragedies that have taken place in our history.
This light is so special and so holy so we cannot "use" this light. We need to stare at it and imbue it into ourselves. It makes us wise and gives us clarity to understand that Hashem runs the world. Every Jew that is alive today is a testimony that Hashem runs the world.
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