Roy Neuberger - Dec. 07, 2018

This Friday night there will be six lights on the Chanukah Menorah in addition to the Shabbos lights. The house will be full of light. What is special about the Chanukah lights is that you cannot use them for seeing your way. They are just for looking.


This is so anti-Western. In the surrounding culture everything is utilitarian; nothing is for itself. When the Greeks conquered the Land of Israel, they tried to impose upon us their degenerate lifestyle. This is an abomination.


Every morning we say, “May we and our offspring and the offspring of Your people, the House of Israel, all of us, know Your Name and study Your Torah ‘lishma’ … for its own sake!” “Lishma” is a world unto itself. The cultures of Esau and Ishmael do not understand this concept. Everything is to be used: people are to be used; the world is to be used.


And how? “For me!” Everything is for “me”! This is the culture of egotism. But understanding of the Reality of Hashem is impossible in a culture that is all “for me.” Thus “I” becomes the center of the universe.


Hashem, on the other hand, is completely giving. Everything is done for us, His creations. As we say, “Gomail chassadim tovim … Who bestows beneficial kindnesses.” The Patriarchs understood His ways, and that is why our Prayer refers to“chasdei Avos … the kindnesses of the Patriarchs…”


This is the Life of the Jew: Torah “lishma” – for its own sake – chessed – giving.


This is how we try to imitate Hashem.


A light burning for its own sake … illumination for its own sake, and we place those lights where they are visible “pirsumai nisa,” to demonstrate to the world that we are different, that we live “lishma,” with no ulterior motive, not to dominate the world, but so that Truth should dominate, and the world should be pure and complete, as Hashem created it.


The idea of using everything as a tool for some other purpose has no end. With their evil tools they have dug up the world. There is no end to their destruction. Once loosed, it is incapable of stopping until it has destroyed everything, G-d forbid.


And so, the only hope for the world is the Children of Israel, because we are lishma.


Joseph dreams. Did his dreams indicate his desire to dominate his brothers?


No, my friends. The sina, the strife began when they believed that his motives were antagonistic to them. Yosef was acting lishma, just the way his mother was acting lishma when she gave the signs to her sister. Who could be more pure than she? Who could be more pure than her son, Yosef? That is how he prevailed against his Evil Inclination in the House of Potiphar, and that is how he became King of Egypt!


And that is why“a voice is heard on high. Rachel weeps for her children; she refuses to be consoled for her children ….” (Jeremiah 31:14ff; Haftara Second Day Rosh Hashanah) Hashem hears the voice of Rachel, and says,“restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears…. There is hope for you … the words of Hashem … and your children shall return to their border….”


May we see it soon in our days!


Recent Posts


Jewish heaven slaves Chanukah Solomon Sarah purity water patriarchs Moab Babylonia Creator Ishmael King David world to come Jewish festival Ishmeal Balak Mordechai eternity redemption Judaism Amalek King of the Universe terrorists blessing commandment Sodom Moshaich trees Mount Sinai Day of Atonement Lunar eclipse media evil Genesis Blame Rabbis Eve Ishamael earthquake Sukkah Amram Torah scholars Abrahem Chol haMoed spirituality Hashem Gog bird Tefillin Sukkos Day of Judgement prayer book stones miracles culture Exodus Bilaam Jeremiah biblical Final redemption Matriarchs forefathers High Holy Days enemies rabbi patriarchs'matriarchs Raiders of the Lost Ark Passover Divine presence evolution Adam Noah tabernacle Tisha b'Av Egypt Isaac Banias Sephardi Yerushalayim High Priest seder terror Hagar judgement Second Temple shmittah Hasmoneans hubris kosher Greeks Pharaoh Yaakov rain barley Ezekiel Ten Commandments priests Garden of Eden Esau alone Aharon heavenly gates Eglon fragrance Boaz kesuba missiles Land of Israel G-d violence Tzuk etan Macabees Red Heifer cholent Holiness tablets America Malbim pray yeshiva leprosy Isaiah Golan Rebecca Haman shield of Abraham ancestors Rabbi Akiva Earth resurrection Rachel messiah Solar eclipse paradise prayers Bais Hamikdosh persecution mitzvos Miraglim mikveh, Sabbath menorah prophet Western World prophets Chofetz Chaim chaos matzos 2020 Vision Nation of Israel plague angels slavery Lot gossip Abraham Psalms lights Zion Shavuos bible Pinchas spiritual Maccabeans tremors cries Repentence death King Solomon Song of Songs eternal Angel of Death Rebbe repentance Geula Chafetz Chaim Holocaust Benjamin Laban fault Matisyahu fires Shushan Teshuva Achashveirosh logic kinneret Midrash materialism rosh chodesh Protective edge idol Children of Israel Torah portion Hebrew Moshiach Holy land Zechariah Moses holiday Passover Seder Holy Ark Talmud Baku Yom Kippur survival Esther terrorism Judah Ruth mitzva tears king bris milah Sages sacrifices sin Purim deluge kiddush stars End of Days sanctity Shechina Jewish People Mount Zion Magog Tu b'Shvat Ammon God esrog shofar spies United Nations yarmulke dreams Faith Terror Attack in Jerusalem liberation fear light Father in Heaven soul Psalm repent Canaan mikveh brotherhood Maimonides ethics exile keys Samuel the Prophet terrorist three weeks locusts Sefiras haOmer Moshe Galil Mount Hermon Samuel war Miriam Western Wall Rashi Beit Hamikdash Temple Mount Zion, Angel meraglim Master of the Universe redeemer Chanukkah Dead Sea Zohar Parsha New Moon song Tu b'Av automobiles flood Leah miracle Edom Jerusalem evil inclination synagogue Temple Shabbos prophet Samuel Sea of Galilee Israel holy chessed Joseph self-worship Judgement Day Prophecy India Torah Rome Babylon Jews Golden Calf David Jacob Golus salvation sun darkness incense murder Elul siddur moon heavenly throne minyan danger Europe pain creation Avraham Sabbath idolatry Rosh Hashanah compassion night Holy Temple Rosh Hashana Tallis Heavenly Mercy secret Jewish holidays prayer angel Jew peace Ashkenazi Red Sea