During Chanukah, when we light the menorah and the flame is burning, Jewish wives are not allowed to work, as it says, “Women customarily refrain from work as long as the [Chanukah] lights in the home are burning.” (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:3)
We remember the remarkable courage of the daughter of Yochanan Kohain Gadol. In general, Jewish women are responsible for bringing the Light of Torah into our homes.
We have just read in the Torah about how Yitzchak married Rivka. Rashi tells us that, when our Mother Sarah Imeinu was alive, a light burned in her tent from one Shabbos until the next. That lamp went dark when Sarah died, but it returned when Rivka entered Yitzchak’s tent.
My wife has the minhag to sit and look at the pure, holy flames of the menorah because she sees in them the light of the menorah that stood in the Bais Hamikdosh. The wife brings the light of Torah into the home. If she is aware of her role, then she will fulfill it. Her husband and her children have Torah only because of her. Rabbi Akiva attributed all his Torah to his wife, Rachel! She is the “ezer kenegdo,” who keeps her entire household on the right path. She guides her husband and guards his way. There is no more important in the world than the Jewish wife, and Chanukah is her special Yom Tov. For that reason, Chanukah is the time to refine the midos in our home and work on Shalom Bayis. At this time, we appreciate the Aishes Chayil and strengthen our marriage, because the Jewish Home is the Mikdash Me’at, the Sanctuary from which sanctity flows into the world.