A short idea I had during Chanukah: Any close relationship contains elements that are exclusively ‘for’ the people involved in the relationship to the exclusion of anyone outside of it. If one party were to reveal to the outside world any of these intimate, shared things it could have a very damaging effect. It occurred to me that this idea might have something to do with where we light the Chanukah candles today:

Chanukah is, in its essence the festival that celebrates our special relationship to Hashem. It is commonly referred to as the festival of the Torah She B’al Peh (Oral Torah), the part of the Torah which is reserved exclusively for Jewish study. It is forbidden for a Jew to teach non-Jews

the Torah She B’al Peh and it is through the study of it that Jews connect daily with Hashem in the way that is ‘just for us’. The most recognisable symbol of this festival (and thus this idea) is of course the Chanukiah. In the past when the majority of Jews lived in Eretz Yisroel, we lit the Chanukiah in our windows or even in the streets outside our houses. Since those times, we live amongst non - Jews and have found ourselves often under threat of persecution, accordingly we light behind closed doors. When we lived in Eretz Yisroel and were surrounded by Jews – other participants in our special relationship with Hashem, lighting in the streets wasn’t disclosing intimate information. Now however, when we are surrounded by non –

Jews, perhaps it could be said that it is even preferable to light in private –

so as to keep the symbol of our intimacy and closeness ‘just between us’.

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