Friday, December 10, 2010

Gutten Erev Shabbos

Two words, change it all
Prince/brother, denial/truth
Just, "Ani Yosef."
One day we will die, then see
Truth: we can taste and see now
~
G-d, in the silence
the silence we all must own
help us find You there
~
"I seek my brothers"
"I am Joseph your brother"
What he wanted: them

For an essay that relates to the above poems, see here. I like this piece, this being the pre publication version - before it appeared in a slightly edited form in the Jewish Week.

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I continue to feel badly for Chanukah. Passover lingers, so does Sukkot. The theme of Chanukah should still be sitting with us. But almost before it's over Chanukah seems to disappear.


This go round I heard something about Chanukah candles that was new to me. Not being a math person (yet) I will explain it the way I wish it was explained to me.

i i i i i i i i

i i i i i i i

Count the lines above. You should get 8 in the first line and 7 in the second line. Remember those images, we'll get back to them in a few seconds.

Probably the most popular question asked as a Chanukah dvar Torah is, "Why do we celebrate 8 days? If there was enough oil for one day and it lasted seven more, then the miracle was for seven days and that's how long we should celebrate. Answers abound. Supposedly there's a book named Ner LeMeah with 100 answers to this question.

Possibly next in line is the argument between Beit Shamai and Beit Hillel about if we should light one one candle ohe first night and add up as Beit Hillel says or subtract down from eight as per Beit Shamai.

Look at those two lines again.

Look at the first line, with eight with eight candles, and imagine adding one each night. On day four you light four candles according to Beit Hillel (as you add up: 1,2,3.4). If you look at that line from Beit Shamai's point of view then on day four you light five candles (as you subtract down: 8,7,6,5). Thus on day four, just like on every day you light a different number of candles according to Beit Hillel than you would if you go according to Beit Shamai.

Now look at the second line, with seven candles, and imagine subtracting one each night. On day four you light four candles according to Beit Hillel (as you add up: 1,2,3.4). If you look at that line from Beit Shamai's point of view then on day four you light four candles as well (as you subtract down: 8,7,6,5). Thus on day four, unlike on every day you light the same number of candles according to Beit Hillel as you would if you go according to Beit Shamai. (This is because four is in the middle of the odd number seven, but eight being an even number has no number withe the same amount of numbers preceding and following it.)

____________

It's almost Shabbos and I have so much I want to process and share.

Time is passing by
without asking permission
- does that constantly

4 Comments:

Anonymous Galit Breen said...

i love getting glimpses into your writing and thinking! for what it's worth, for me, hanukkah lingered and always does. & as for that last poem about the passage of time? too true.

December 10, 2010 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thanks Galit. My sense (based on an informal poll at lunch today) is that for most it doesn't linger. I'm glad that for you it does. Most everything lingers for me. Sigh.

I'm glad you were taken by that haiku. I just breathed it out with minutes to go till sundown. After blurting it out I thought there might be something to it.

December 11, 2010 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger uriyo said...

Ner L'Meah indeed exists; I own a copy.

December 17, 2010 at 2:59 AM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

thanks! got to get me one of those - problem is most "sefarim" stores near me sell mostly menorahs.

it's the type of sefer i'll look for and surel find in yerushalayim - maybe at manny's.

December 17, 2010 at 6:52 AM  

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