Halacha for Monday 30 Kislev 5778 December 18 2017              

Halacha Date: 30 Kislev 5778 December 18 2017

Category: Chanukah


The Holiday of Chanukah Will Never Be Discontinued

In several of our holy books (including the “Magid Mesharim” written by Maran Rabbeinu Yosef Karo zt”l) we find quoted the saying of our Sages that “all of the Jewish festivals will be discontinued in the future besides for Chanukah and Purim.” This is hinted in the text of the blessing made upon the lighting of the Chanukah candles: “Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehadlik Ner Chanukah”; the word “Lehadlik” connotes future tense as well. (If the text would have read “Al Hadlakat Ner Chanukah,” it would not teach us anything.)

The question therefore arises: No part of the Torah, including all Jewish festivals and holidays, will ever become discontinued or nullified, for the Torah is eternal. If so, why did our Sages find it necessary to issue a unique promise that the days of Chanukah will never be abolished?

The Radbaz (Rabbeinu David ben Zimra, who lived in the same generation as Maran Ha’Bet Yosef, was a rabbi in Egypt and moved to Israel towards the end of his life; he passed away at the age of 110 in Tzefat) writes that it is clear that none of the Mitzvot of the Torah will ever become nullified for the Torah states: “You shall not add onto them or subtract from them.” Rather, this means that in the future, life will be so good for the Jewish nation and all their days will be filled with such happiness and tranquility that it will feel as though the festivals were no longer (meaning there will not be any special degree of happiness on these holidays). Based on this it would seem that the same should apply for Purim and especially Chanukah. This is why our Sages stressed that the holidays of Chanukah and Purim are exceptions to this rule and they will forever be celebrated with an extra special happiness.

Although the Radbaz primarily refers to Purim, nevertheless, this can be applied to Chanukah as well and it will likewise retain a special feeling of joy as opposed to other holidays.

In the Halachot of Purim, we have mentioned the words of the Rashba in his response (Chapter 93) that the meaning of this Midrash is that although there is a chance that the festivals will be discontinued from the Jewish nation, G-d forbid, as a result of various exiles and suffering that they will be subjected to, nevertheless, regarding Purim there is a special promise that it will never be totally nullified during any generation. The words of the Midrash can be interpreted to include the holiday of Chanukah as well.

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