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4 aspects of a most special day


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. Hanukkah is not over! Last night we kindled the eighth candle (or oil lamp), but until this evening it's still Hanukkah. And it's not just another one of the eight days, but a most special day known as "Zot Hanukkah" (this is Hanukkah).
2. Today is meant to be a day of prayer and teshuvah that actually completes the holidays of Tishrei. In other words, this journey that began on the 1st of Elul, by way of Selichot (prayers for divine forgiveness), Rosh Hashanah, the Ten Days of Repentance, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah, is finished today, at the close of Hanukkah. There is even a custom to wish each other: "G'mar Chatimah Tova" - may you be sealed for good (in the Book of Life).
3. Rebbe Yisrael of Ruzhin famously declared: "What the tzadikim can accomplish through their Ne'ilah (closing) prayers on Yom Kippur, a simple Jew can accomplish through his prayers on 'Zot Hanukkah.'"
4. Today is a day of completeness. Not only is the menorah complete, but we are too. Yet where do we go from here? It is said that if someone has a hammer in their hand, all they see around them are nails. So if someone has a candle in their hand, all they see are opportunities for lighting up their surroundings. May we be privileged to bring the light of Hanukkah into the days of winter that lie ahead.
Have a happy "Zot Hanukkah."


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