The word Hanukkah, “חנוכה” is related to the event of initiating and connecting the Light for the first time to our dwelling place. It is done after the place is ready for occupation and use, just before moving in. After the Maccabees won over the Greek empire, they fixed the 13 broken places in the walls of the Holy Temple. This purified it and made it ready for renewal of the priests’ services. They wanted to make the initiation, ‘Hanukkah of the house”, with the lighting of the Menorah.
The Menorah in the Holy Temple had seven candles to channel the Light of Binah through the seven Sefirot to our world. The Maccabees found a little can of pure oil, sealed with the seal of the high priest and used it. The famous miracle is that the oil that normally would be used for one day, kept the light for eight days.
Knowing what precedes this is very important.
The Greeks controlled the land of Israel for about 160 years before the Maccabees rebelled. It started with 17 people from the family of Matityahu, the priest. It took them about seven years to break the Greek empire and send them home. The Greeks made a lot of efforts to keep their hold on Jerusalem, bringing more soldiers from other parts of the empire but after 7 years, they were exhausted and left the land of Israel.
The Greeks also lost the connection to the roots of Light to the world. They tried to bring darkness to the Israelites by ‘sucking’ their light but the Greeks fell into darkness and had more wars then they could recover from.
The Light of Hanukkah reveals the “Ohr Haganuz”, “Concealed Light” that was ‘saved’ by the Creator for the world to come and for the Tzadikim. Great Tzadikim that completed their correction in this world like Rabbi Shimon, the Baal Shem Tov, the Holy Ari, and few others, could connect to this Light and see beyond the limitations of this world.
Both men and women should light candles. If there is no man or a child over bar Mitzvah age at home, than the woman will light the candles with the blessings.
The best place is by the entrance to the house or apartment. The Mezuzah on the Left and the Hanukkah on the right when inside the room. The person that lights the candles should have a Tzitzit (men) to create a ‘triangle’ of light with the three elements, connecting to the three columns of the Tree of Life.
Oil is preferred over wax but everything that generates a live flame of light is good. The vessels/ body of the menorah should be as good as it gets. The light of the candles should last at least half an hour. Time of lighting is at sundown, preferably not too late and before evening prayer.
We prepare the candles in order from 1 to last (8) and light then from the last (today’s) to 1. The meaning of this is that we increase the size of the vessel and use the first, the newer light of the day to come down and fill the vessel from top to bottom.
The height (from the floor) of the flames is preferably as low as 30″ (80-90 centimeter) and not higher than 60″ (160 centimeters).
Find instructions and blessings online and do your best to make this higher spiritual connection.
In addition to the Daily Zohar studies I will publish few more studies on Hanukkah during the following eight days.