God’s Light Is Like the Stars in the Sky

At the exact time of the hadlakat nerot in the Temple, the incense is burned on the altar; the vapor, the cloud of smoke, rises and saturates the air in the sanctuary; the lights can hardly shine brightly, since they have to penetrate the haze. One sees the nerot but cannot make use of them. The sanctuary is not illuminated because of an impenetrable pillar of incense vapor. One perceives the light but does not enjoy it.

Ner Hannukah represents not the sun, the light of which clears the darkness away and sheds a bright light over our earth, but a remote star whose beam of light does not dissipate the darkness. From the darkness, a mysterious world twinkles and addresses itself to us. If we were to use the light of the ner Hannukah, it would not satisfy our curiosity. We would turn it into an illuminating light, a harvest moon, instead of a distant light that announces something mysterious without furnishing us the clue to solve that mystery. (Rabbi Soloveitchik, Days of Deliverance)

What do you think is the deeper meaning of the Menorah as taught in this teaching of Rabbi Soloveitchik?

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