Kabbalah of Chanukah


Souls dance-they don’t stand still. They long to break free of the this world just as a flame tries to escape the wick. But the flame needs the wick-to anchor it -to feed it the oil that keeps it burning. The soul needs the body to perform deeds that will elevate the soul beyond itself into higher worlds. The flame constantly seeks freedom and so does the soul but it knows that it’s true freedom is tied up with this world, not only higher realms.

This partnership is reflected in the Menorah-where flames-which are the only visible element to the natural world to do so-defy gravity. Certain gases, like helium do the same but we can’t see them. Many of our lessons come from what we can see. The flame longs for transcendence. It is the transcendent element of our being. The soul yearns to fly-yearns for freedom…

On Chanukah we light the candles and celebrate the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. As seven is the number of Holiness with nature,eight is the number of transcendence, the surrounding lights that are not readily perceived in our world, yet which we can sense and connect with by certain physical acts, the ‘connections’ – in Hebrew, Mitzvot. Cords that bind and keep us tied to a higher reality. The Tanya states that the soul is part of G-d above. We are creatures of earth, and creatures of Heaven (G-d blew into his nostrils a living soul).

We are all flames on the Menorah. Chanukah focuses our meditations and practice on realizing the flame within us, the mission that is uniquely ours-to spread light wherever we go. We don’t want to just light the Menorah, we want to be a Menorah. that is our mission. To be aware of our G-dly soul and purpose and to share that light wherever we go…always sensitive that everyone else is also a light on the Menorah. Some people are more aware of this than others.

To be a lamp-lighter we need to have access to the deep pool of oil within us, the deep resources of holiness and sanctity that are not limited by nature, but in fact, are unlimited. By accessing this deep reservoir of infinity we maintain a steady connection to our deep unconscious, the place where opposites reside together. Where the depth of our potential is revealed. The sense that we are more than we think we are and can achieve greater things each day because we were put on this earth to make a difference, to make a dwelling place for G-d in this lowest world.

This is the story the flames tell us on Chanukah. You are truly free when you can access the deepest dimensions of your soul.

Each of the seven candles represents one of the emotional characteristics listed in the Zohar (the main book of the Kabbalah).
They are:

1. Chesed: Kindness/love/giving.
2. Gevurah: Restaint/ judgment/ Withholding.
3. Tiferet: Mercy. A mixture of giving and restraint leaning more toward giving-also called harmony/ beauty-the beauty that resides within diversity.
4. Netzach: Endurance/victory.
5. Hod: Humility.
6. Yesod: Foundation – bonding with the above elements in a harmonious manner – bonding with self and others
7. Malchut: Sovereignty-sense of self which results from combination of the above.

Each of us has a personality that leans more toward one or more of these attributes than the others. This combination makes us uniquely who we are. All seven of these are represented on the Menorah. The message of the Menorah is that all seven of these bring light. The diversity of humanness burns together to light the world.

With warmth and affection and blessings for an illuminating and happy Chanukah,

Phillip Namanworth

Free Chanukah Guide

The Kabbalah of Chanukah

Your free guide to a meaningful Chanuka with insights from Rabbi Simon Jacobson, author of the best-seller Toward a Meaningful Life, and Rabbi Yanki Tauber, author of Inside Time.


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Gabrielle Clissold
3 years ago

I have a question-how are the 7 related to Chanukah which is actually based on 8? Is it because the 7 represents the ancient menorah?

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