Nazarene Space

Why Do We Add a Light for Eight Nights?


Why Do We Add a Light for Eight Nights?
By
James Scott Trimm



Why do we light eight lights, adding a light for each day of Channukah?

Actually, the question of whether to begin lighting with one light and proceed, adding one each night, until there are eight on the eighth night of Chanukah or do just the opposite, begin with eight lights and end with one, was a matter of debate when Yeshua was just a child. In fact, it was one of the famous "machlokot," or disagreements, between two of the great sages of Israel, Hillel and Shammai, as recorded in the Talmud:

Our Rabbis taught: The precept of Hanukkah [demands] one light for a man and his household;  the zealous [kindle] a light for each member [of the household]; and the extremely zealous, — Beth Shammai maintain: On the first day eight lights are lit and thereafter they are gradually reduced; , but Beth Hillel say: On the first day one is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased. ‘Ulla said: In the West [Palestine] two amoraim, R. Jose b. Abin and R. Jose b. Zebida, differ therein: one maintains, The reason of Beth Shammai is that it shall correspond to the days still to come, and that of Beth Hillel is that it shall correspond to the days that are gone; but another maintains: Beth Shammai's reason is that it shall correspond to the bullocks of the Festival; whilst Beth Hillel's reason is that we promote in [matters of] sanctity but do not reduce.

Rabbah b. Bar Hana said: There were two old men in Sidon: one did as Beth Shammai and the other as Beth Hillel: the former gave the reason of his action that it should correspond to the bullocks of the Festival, while the latter stated his reason because we promote in [matters of] sanctity but do not reduce.
(b.Shabbat 21b)

Within Rabbinic literature we have record of over 350 disputes between the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai. Generally Shammai gave the stricter interpretation, while Hillel’s understandings were more relaxed.

The Zohar (in Zohar (Ra'aya Meheimna) 3:245a) tells us that the positions of the House of Shammai were rooted in GEVURAH ("severity") while the positions of the House of Hillel were rooted in CHESED ("grace"/"mercy")

This is very significant. In Mark's account of Yeshua's summary of the Torah (Mk. 12:28-33) A "scribe" comes to question Yeshua. In Matthew's account this "scribe" is identified as a Pharisee (Mt. 22:34-36). According to Mark's account this Pharisee not only agreed with Yeshua's summary of Torah and repeated it adding:

…and to love his neighbor as himself,
is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
(Mt. 12:33b)

It is not unlikely from this context that the Pharisee was quoting a now-lost saying of Hillel here. In making this statement the Pharisee, who apparently was from the School of Hillel, was pointing to Hosea 6:6:

For I [YHWH] desire mercy (CHESED), and not sacrifice;
and the knowledge of ELOHIM more than burnt offerings.

This Pharisee seems to have identified "love your neighbor" of Lev. 19:18 with the CHESED of Hosea 6:6. Remember the relaxed halachic positions of the School of Hillel were based on CHESED, it is indeed likely that Hosea 6:6 served as a proof text for many of their halachic rulings, since this passage assigns a halachic weight to CHESED. We also find Yeshua using Hosea 6:6 in support of his relaxed halachic rulings regarding the Shabbat (Mt. 12:7 = Hosea 6:6) here Yeshua argues from Hosea 6:6 that CHESED is of greater weight than the sacrifices. Since CHESED out weighs sacrifice, and sacrifice out weighs Shabbat, then CHESED out weighs Shabbat.

It seems that both Yeshua and Hillel emphasised love for all men, taught the "golden rule" and had many of their halachic rulings rooted in CHESED ("mercy").

When we add a candle each day for each of the eight days of Channukah, it represents the expanding nature of CHESED (mercy) as opposed to the contracting nature of GEVURAH (severity).

 

 Emergency Update!

We must still raise $2,OOO ASAP!

As many of you know, my wife recently got home after a more than fifty day hospitalization.  She spent that time fighting for her life (she was put in ICU on a ventilator twice, and had three major surgeries.)  We came home broke. Now the electric bill and rent are both due.  (And we are also facing medical bills not covered by insurance).

We are now late on our rent!

Things have never been so bad that we were later on our rent before!

We still need to raise at least $2,OOO ASAP!

 As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


You can donate by going to the pay-pal counter at http://www.nazarenespace.com or donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

The lost Hebrew text of 1st Maccabees is found! This edition reproduces the actual Hebrew text of the Hebrew text of 1st Maccabees lost for hundreds of years and now translated into English for the first time with Hebrew and English in parallel columns. This volume also includes a detailed textual analysis demonstrating the originality of this Hebrew text, as well as the restored "Hebraic Roots Version" of First Maccabeesbased primarily on this Hebrew text.


Channukah is not just a Jewish holiday, it is a key to prophetic events of the last days. Embedded within the Channukah story are elements foreshadowing the apostasy, the abomination of desolation, the Great Tribulation the Anti-Messiah, the martyrs of the tribulation, the false prophet, the remnant, the return of Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom to come.

You can get the paperback, hardback or ebook at:

http://nazarenespace.com/page/books-dvds

What other ministry provides this kind of teaching? What other ministry is doing this kind of work?

Help us keep the vision alive!

Please help us bring the message of Torah and Messiah to a lost world and create Scripture study materials for believers. Folks we REALLY need you to step up to the plate now more than ever!
Do not count on someone else to do your part, you do your part.

It seems Paypal has been having a problem with their widget, and they are working on the problem.

But we still need your support for this work!

Is this work worthy of your support? What other ministry provides this kind of teaching?
Now is time to step up to the plate!


You can donate by going to the pay-pal counter at http://www.nazarenespace.com or donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

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