Celebrating and mourning go with yearning for the Geula

Message and ramifications of Vayigash, especially in light of the Hanukkah story and the fast-approaching fast day.

Phil Chernofsky ,

Beacon of hope
Beacon of hope

ADAR is a happy month; so is NISAN. In fact, Rashi holds that "When Adar enters, joy increases", is because Adar is followed by Nisan; because the Geula of Purim is followed a month later by the Geula of Pesach.

As Av enters, our joy diminishes. Tammuz in which the Three Weeks of mourning the Beit HaMikdash begin, joins Av with an overall down feeling. (True, the Nechama replaces the mourning only after a third of Av, but still...)

Tishrei is definitely up. Serious at the beginning (by with a spiritual joy of sorts), very joyous from the midpoint.

Even though Hanukkah is at the end of Kislev, the month is definitely upbeat in anticipation of the beloved holiday on its way.

Even though we haven't finished the whole survey of the months, enough has been said to move on to the point.

TEVET's first two or three days are joyous. The Hanukkah glow (pun intended) continues for a while longer - until we are facing ASARA B'TEVET, the first of the fast days that mourn the Churban. (Even though Tzom Gedaliya would be the first if we count from Tishrei, and 17 Tammuz would be the first if we count from Nisan, ASARA B'TEVET is where/ when it started. The beginning of the siege around Jerusalem leading to the destruction of the first Beit HaMikdash. Then comes 17 Tammuz and 9 Av, and finally, Tzom Gedaliya that completes the foursome of fasts.

If one does more than just light the Hanukkiya and eat sufganiot on Hanukkah, and if one does more than just abstain from eating on drinking on a fast day - then the closeness of each kind of day, the Tevet combination, gives us serious pause for thought.

Hanukkah is not just a story of victories and miracles that happened a long time ago. Hanukkah is about the restoration of learning Torah, practice of Mitzvot, AND Avoda of the Beit HaMikdash. One really celebrates Hanukkah if one really loves Torah and Mitzvot and if one genuinely longs for the building of the Beit HaMikdash and everything that goes with it. (Not that fellow Jews who aren't particularly into Torah & Mitzvot and Sanhedrin and Mikdash, don't celebrate Hanukkah with enthusiasm - they do. But not necessarily in a thinking way.)

Expressing our prayers and hopes of Next Year in Jerusalem - and more to the point, Next Year in Rebuilt Jerusalem - doesn't necessarily mean that we all mean what we say and sing. Officially, L'SHANA HABAA is part of the Pesach Seder and of Ne'ila of Yom Kippur. But it would be just as appropriate for Hanukkah and Asara b'Tevet.

Hanukkah's joy turns bittersweet as Hanukkah ends and 10 Tevet approaches - because we realize that the Beit HaMikdash so lovingly restored was subsequently destroyed and the years from the Hanukkah story until Churban Bayit Sheni were far from idyllic. Celebrating and mourning go with genuine yearning for the Geula.