This Chanukah, I plan to send out one message (written and video) for each of the eight days. Here is the message for the First Day.
Leah and I wish you a Yom Tov … and an entire life! … filled with light and blessing!
Chanukah is the only Yom Tov which occurs at the end of the Jewish Month, when the moon is getting smaller. (Our months are based on the moon. On the first day of the month, the sliver of a New Moon becomes visible in the night sky. In the middle of the month, the Full Moon is shining. By the end of the month, the moon has vanished.)
Chanukah comes at the darkest and coldest time of year, when days are shortest and nights are longest. It is like Biblical Egypt, when we reached the Forty-Ninth Level of Impurity. It seems like the end, utter darkness!
Every other Yom Tov falls at the beginning of the month, when the moon is getting bigger (like Shavuos, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur), or in the middle of the month, when the moon is full and the night sky is bright (like Pesach, Sukkos and Purim).
But not Chanukah. It begins when the sky is dark. Then the moon becomes progressively smaller until it DISAPPEARS!
The moon is associated with the Jewish People, and that is why Chanukah is the quintessential Yom Tov of Golus (Exile). There should be NO HOPE at this time; we are at the bottom!
But what does Am Yisroel do? Do we give up? In Ancient Egypt, did we disappear when we reached the Forty Ninth level of Impurity? No! We renewed ourselves! We realized that we were at the bottom and opted to live and not die!
Similarly, during Chanukah, we kindle lights in the darkness. We start with one light and we see “ki tov,” it is good! So the next night we light two lights and it is even better! By the sixth day our efforts on earth are echoed in the Heavens! We see something amazing in the night sky, the sliver of a NEW MOON! Am Yisroel is coming back from a seemingly “hopeless” condition. This is like Techias Hamaisim … Resurrection of the Dead!
The New Moon always appears on the Sixth Day of Chanukah. Hashem is telling us: if you kindle lights in the darkness, then I will kindle a light in the sky! That is when the light of the moon joins the light in the menorah, and we realize that our Exile will end! The world will soon be filled with LIGHT AND WARMTH!
HASHEM WILL RESCUE US!