The many long months of preparation, organization and rehearsals finally came to their end and the excited celebrations and breathtaking ceremonies leading up to the coronation day made their long awaited beginning.
Long before the great day, the glorious festive feasts had been arranged by the tens of thousands of appointees carefully selected for the task. Thousands sat each day at the enormous tables that filled every available spot of the royal city and partook of the festive meals consisting of nothing but the finest delicacies.
The following days brought with them the beginning of the parades with thousands of soldiers marching in unified formation through the streets, the sound of their steps resonating throughout the city and bringing great excitement to the hearts of the masses who cheered enthusiastically as the parade passed by. And then, finally, the great day arrived – the day the people would crown their new king. All that had taken place until that moment seemed to melt away into the past, the streets shed their previous appearance and seemed to take on a completely new form. Every corner radiated with splendor and glory, every stone polished afresh and every pathway sparkled with majesty. The sounds, the smells and even the breeze seemed to indicate the imminent arrival of some awesome and majestic occurrence.
The eyes of the masses were fixed upon the entrance of the royal palace that stood in the center of the decorated city. There, in just a few moments, will appear the king himself in all his glory. And then, with a silencing hush that swept through the crowd all the voices ceased to be heard and everyone came to a standstill, it was as if everything just froze, even the waving branches of the trees.
At the entrance to the palace appeared the king himself, exalted and adorned in his splendid royal garments, his entire being radiating glory, goodness and strength with a graceful humility emanating from his shinning face. He raised the golden staff in his hands in a majestic motion and from amidst the silence the sound of trumpets burst forth followed by a symphony of instruments as the roaring crowd proclaimed: ‘long live the king!’
Who could begin to imagine that awesome and overpowering feeling that enveloped the soul when the king cast his gaze upon his people, as his eyes rested upon each and every person individually.
At the moment that the king’s merciful gaze rests upon you, you lack nothing, it’s as if all the good in the world is yours and it doesn’t matter to you where you are, whether you’re standing on a lamp post on the corner of some street or on a balcony of the palace itself. And when the king comes down to the people and passes through the crowd lending an ear to each and every person and promises each one individually that he will always be there for him, doesn’t the entire world just melt away into nothingness? …
There is no event that will leave such a deep impression on a person as the coronation day of the king. Anyone who was witness to such a sight would never forget it as long as they live. It is then that a person begins to realize that there IS a king. He begins to internalize the fact that he is a part of something awesome and wondrous, he begins to find meaning and purpose and he realizes that there is awe so great that it can actually make one forget that he even exists. If he really thinks about it he will realize that what was renewed inside him was a feeling of awe and love that was aroused by the sight of the exceptional unity that accompanied the great event – So many people, with all their different outlooks and lifestyles nullified themselves to each other and united as one in admiration of the king with a burning desire to do his will; it was witnessing this event that created within him these feelings of awe and love he had never before experienced. He also suddenly realized how greatly valuable he is – how there is someone who receives glory and splendor because of him; this gives new meaning to his life – he lives for something so awesomely great. This is what can be caused by such an event, and the whole kingdom is dependent upon it.
Rebbe Nachman teaches in Likutey Moharan 17 that every single thing in the creation reveals the pride that Hashem takes in his people, the Jewish nation. For Hashem takes pride in the Jewish people as a whole and also in each person individually to the extent that even the smallest motion of a Jew invokes Hashem’s pride in him. This is because the entire creation was created and continues to exist only for the pride that Hashem takes in the Jewish people.
This pride is always renewed during the days of Chanukah. In that wondrous and awesome miracle Hashem expressed how dear we are to him and how much pride he takes in His people.
The wicked kingdom of Greece wished to create an equal status for all the people of the world and thus to nullify and completely conceal the pride that Hashem takes in his holy people in general and in specific. They issued decrees against Shabbos, millah (circumcision) and Chodesh (sanctifying the new moon) and tried to make every Jew forget his identity and hide from him the fact that Hashem is exalted and glorified by him. They exerted themselves greatly and defiled all the oil in order that there should be no way to shine the light of the Beis Hamikdash into the world and to see the truth – the entire reason for our existence.
They wanted to make it forgotten that there is someone to serve and someone to honor. This is how they cast Jewish souls down into kefirah (apostasy) and emptiness, clogging their hearts and making them feel as if man’s actions don’t make any difference for better or for worse, as if G-d forbid there was no one interested in our efforts in the performance of mitzvos and in the sanctification of our thoughts.
With this falsehood they conquered almost the entire world and blew a spirit of apostasy into the hearts of the masses. Thousands of souls sank, as a result of this, into the depths of kefirah, bewilderment and emptiness.
The miracles that occurred during Chanukah revealed the dearness of Yisrael (the Jewish people) is Hashem’s eyes. They showed us that Hashem always helps, causing us to open our eyes to see the splendor and glory of the Kingdom of Heaven and enabling us to feel the pride that Hashem takes in us.
The pure oil that was poured from the small remaining jar shines and lights up the darkness of the gallus (exile) revealing the truth to every Jew – that to wherever we have fallen, Hashem is with us watching over us with perfect providence, rejoicing and taking pleasure in every good point within us.
This is the influx of light that shines at the time of the lighting of the candles – an influx of the attributes of mercy which is the light of the great and awesome Tzaddik who reveals the pride that Hashem takes in his people.
At the time that the soul is aroused with the awareness that Hashem takes pride in us, it is the right time to move forward and light the candles again, to begin everyday anew and to understand more and more the concept of this pride. We must also know that even if we have forgotten and fallen from the awareness of this pride it is our duty to continue and not to become discouraged, until we merit to the pure Emunah that will fill our lives with endless simcha and meaning. So we can go from strength to strength until we merit to “our souls have yearned for Hashem” – that we should be filled with a powerful desire and yearning for Hashem that will create within us true awe and fear of Heaven. This will then enable us to constantly cling to the knowledge of Hashem’s love for us.
Despite all the distractions and the fact that our hearts are clogged and cold to the extent that awe and love of Hashem are hidden from us, there is a hidden light that shines on Chanukah that enables even us to experience an inkling of the coronation of the King – to see the pride that Hashem takes in us. And through this, to receive some notion of love and deveikus to Hashem and thereby experience a taste of true awe of Heaven.
In the Rebbe’s teachings (L.M. 14) we find that on Chanukah one should light a candle of remembrance of the glory of Heaven and awe of Hashem. It is further taught (L.M 54) that the meaning of the lighting of a candle is the lighting of memory and awareness, that we should light up our minds to always remember Hashem. This is what really happens on Chanukah, for the miracles and wonders that we commemorate during the days of Chanukah reveal to us how dear we are to Hashem and the light that shines forth from the Chanukah candles is a tremendous light of Hashem’s pride like that of the day of the coronation of the king.
These candles are in order to remove us from the kefirah and the illusion created of distance of Hashem – that there is no one who takes pride in us, G-d forbid. It is through the power of the awesome miracle, that we return to Emunah and discard all thoughts of the past and focus only on the good that can be done now. With the light of Chanukah, it is surely appropriate to move forward and add a light each night until the light of Chanukah brings us to a tangible and powerful feeling of Hashem’s pride in us just like on the day of the coronation of the king.
When the heart is aroused with true awe of Hashem, then the mind too is kindled and one’s thoughts begin to gain clarity until they come to a clear awareness of Hashem’s existence and the awe and fear of Heaven become tangible, bringing about a true acceptance of the yolk of heaven. And through the thanks and praise to Hashem for all the tremendous kindness and revelation of His love for us, a true love of Hashem can be aroused in our hearts too.
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