Reb Aryeh’s Love

What it means to truly care

Rabbi Aryeh Levin was known to many as being one of the “Lamed Vav Tzaddikim” , one of the 36 righteous people who hold up the world.

אמר אביי לא פחות עלמא מתלתין ושיתא צדיקי דמקבלי אפי שכינה בכל דרא (סנהדרין צז:)

Abaye said: The world has no fewer than thirty-six righteous people in each generation who greet the Divine Presence, (Sanhedrin 97b)

36 is also a very significant number when it comes to Chanukah:

A Kabbalistic Perspective on the 36 Candles of Chanukah

Did you know that the 36 candles we light correspond to the 36 hours that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden?

So says Rabbi Zvi Elimelech of Dinov`in his classic work, Bnei Yissoschar. Drawing on  Kabbalistic sources, the Rebbe makes the equation between the total of the 36 candles that are lit on Chanukah and the 36 hours of pure Divine light that Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden, at the very beginning of time.

Jewish tradition teaches us that Adam and Eve were created on the last day of creation, on a Friday. The world they lived in consisted not only of the physical light but also a spiritual light that graced the universe. 

God’s first words “Let there be light” did not refer to the light of the sun or the moon. Rather, the first light created by God was a spiritual light which filled the world with truth and clarity. That unique light was with them for 36 hours, while they were in the Garden of Eden. 

When the original man and woman deviated from the path of goodness, that unique light ended. The light of Paradise was left behind when they were ordered to leave the Garden, after Shabbat.

The holy Rebbe of Dinov teaches that the lights we kindle in our homes on Chanukah are reminiscent of the first light that God gave man. From our  small candles we envision a spark of the Divine light.This light is a spiritual light that is meant to reveal holiness in the world and the inner goodness found in all of Creation. 

It is no coincidence then that both the light of Chanukah and the pure light that was created at the beginning of time share the same number.

The lights of Chanukah remind us that the spiritual light that once adorned mankind can be lit up again. We actually pray for this light each day: “May You shine a new light on Zion” ( morning prayers). (The Light That Unites p.55-56)

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