Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
Chanukah - 8 Days a Week
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2018 02:27:28 PM
Number of views: 87

The Beatles had a number 1 hit song called 8 Days a Week. Were they singing about Chanukah?

2,182 years ago the Greeks had outlawed Torah observance among the Jewish People in Israel. They made it a capital punishment to observe the three Mitzvot of Shabbat, Milah and Nidah, which happens to be an acronym of SHEMEN (oil) (שמן). Parshat Vayeishev always falls out around Chanukah time. Thus the Sefer HaPardes points out that there are 112 verses in Parshat Vayeishev, 104 of which begin with the letter VAV, which is a conjunction. These 8 independent verses, represent the 8 days leading up to Brit Milah and the 8 days of Chanukah.

What is the connection between Parshat Vayeishev and Chanukah? All of the incidences in Vayeishev are one large continuum connected by the VAV conjunctions. Everything is cause and effect. But the life of a Jew, symbolized by the 8 days of Brit Milah, is not affected by this continuum. There are no VAV’s or conjunctions in the verses that represent Israel, because there is no ordinary cause and effect when it comes to the Jewish People.

The life of a Jew is above and beyond the control of nature. The Jewish people are identified with the number 8, which symbolizes the supernatural, 7 being the symbol of nature as in the 7 days of the week, and 8 symbolizing the supernatural.

The 8 days of Chanukah which fall around Parshat Vayeishev, also fit neatly into this pattern. The 8 days symbolize and signify the supernatural, which is a perfect description for the Miracle of Chanukah.

Why is Chanukah 8 days? The Talmud tells us that there was enough oil to light the Menorah for 1 day, but miraculously the 1 day supply of oil burned for 8 days. So the miracle of the oil was ONLY 7 days. Why do we have an 8 day festival for a 7 day miracle? It can’t be to give us an extra day to eat donuts and latkas!

The answer is that the 8 days of Chanukah, like the eight days of Brit Milah, symbolize that Israel will exist eternally above and beyond the laws of nature. As John Lennon sang in his number 1 hit song, without the Beatles, “WE ALL SHINE ON!” This is Israel’s eternal destiny!

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