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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach on Herring and Chanukah

"Do you know how far we can reach? Do any of us know how high and how deep we can reach? Infinity. We are made in G-d's image. We can get close -- really close -- to G-d.

The Talmud says that G-d's light does not get that close to this world. Usually there must be at least a little space in between Him and our world -- a small space of ten tfachim. 

But on Chanukah, His light comes all the way to the ground. All year long, without that light, I understand that "holiness" is cute, sweet, beautiful, but let's face it -- it doesn't reach down to this world. Can you sell herring and be holy? Can you be a stockbroker and really be holy? You can't because you have no light, right?

With light, the lowest place can be made holy.
And here I want you to open your hearts in the deepest depths.
We all know a lot of holy words. Why don't they change us?
Because we have this little in-between space. I don't let G-d get too close, I leave myself a little space where I keep my unholy stuff. I don't let myself overdo it, so I never change.  

On Chanukah, G-d's light reaches me in the lowest places in the world.

But is there really such a thing as "low"?

There is no such thing. It is only because I had no light that I thought there was high and there was low. Until the light of Chaukah reached me, I thought that when I'm praying, I'm high. When I sell herring, I'm low.

On Chanukah, I realize that I can be the highest even when I'm selling herring. Do you think I'm only close to G-d when I yell " Hashem Echad" -- G-d is one?

A person can come into my store and buy herring, and I give him change. From the way I give him change that person can know there is one G-d.

This is the teaching of Chanukah. It is the last miracle which has to keep us going. Chanukah gives us strength. What keeps us going is that I have a little candle in my house and this candle doesn't have to be high. On Chanukah, it comes all the way down, to my place.

The light of Chanukah reaches everybody, everywhere."  

Excerpt from the newly released and very beautiful  book "The Soul of Chanukah - Teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach" compiled by Rabbi Shlomo Katz 

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