By Stephen Kirschenbaum
At the end of the Chumash, as Moshe Rabbeinu is giving each Sheivet its Bracha, he arrives at Sheivet Levi and says: Bareich Hashem Chailo, G-d should bless His strength; U’poel Yadav Tirtzeh, the work of His hand He should desire and find favorable; Mechatz Masnayim Kamav Umeesanav Min Yekumun, G-d should shatter the loins of those who rise up against Klal Yisrael, so that they should not arise again. What’s this talking about? When we think of Sheivet Levi, do we think of soldiers going to battle and fighting? Levi was the Sheivet assigned the task of sitting and learning Torah. Rashi explains that Moshe Rabbeinu saw with Ruach HaKodesh that one day, Sheivet Levi will have to engage in a physical battle — the battle of the Chashmonaim against the Greeks. So, Moshe davened for them, especially since they were outnumbered – a handful of Jews against thousands of Greek soldiers, Rabim B’yad Miatim. Moshe says I am hopeful that somehow you will emerge victorious, as unrealistic as that seemed.
Chanukah represents the Ohr HaGanuz, the inner light of Torah; the Torah of Mashiach. There is so much going on in this Pasuk beneath the surface, specifically pertaining to Chanukah. The Mitzva to light the Chanukah candles is mentioned in the context of Mezuzah. The Gemara Shabbos 21 teaches the Mezuzah is on the right of the doorwy and the Menorah on the left. Why did the Gemara have to bring Mezuzah into the discussion? Couldn’t the Gemara have simply stated that the Menorah is placed on the left? What’s the deeper message here – What’s the relationship between Menorah and Mezuzah? In Parshas Vayishlach, Rav Achai Gaon in the She’iltos speaks about Inyanei Chanukah and adds a third piece to the puzzle. He says the Mezuzah is on the right, the Menorah is on the left, and the Baal HaBayis is in the middle wearing his Talis. The imagery is one of a Jew being surrounded by Mitzvos. One possibility is that this represents the sanctification of one’s body (Tzizis), home (Mezuzah), and the world (Menorah). Another possibility is that these all have an aspect of Zechira. The Yevanim tried to get us L’hashkicham Torasecha; the victory of Chanukah was that we remembered G-d’s Torah. Mezuzah and Tzitzis also have themes of remembering. So where do we see Remazim to Chanukah in this Tefilah of Moshe for Shevet Levi when they will fight the Chanukah battle? The Sefarim teach that the word Machatz (Machatz Masnaim Kamav) is an acronym for Mezuzah, Chanukah and Tzizis. We will crush our enemies through these Mitzvos. Who is the enemy? ‘Kamav,’ as is stated in the Pasuk. Yavan is the enemy of Chanukah and they’re led by Antiochus. He was Melech Yavan. The Gematriya of Kamav is 156. The Gematriya of each of Antiochus and of Melech Yavan is also 156. Machatz Masnaim Kamav. Through Mezuzah, Chanukah, and Tzizis, we will crush Antiochus Melech Yavan and remember the Toras Hashem.
So according to Rashi, this was Moshe’s Tefilla. The Chofetz Chaim wrote a small Sefer called Nidchai Yisrael, which offers the following Mashal. Imagine a farmer who comes to the big city for the first time. He’s with his friend who is giving him a tour and takes him to a factory where they process flour. They’re filling huge bags with flour and stacking them up to the ceiling. Then he takes him to a clothing store where they’re making clothes and piling them up. It’s slightly smaller than the flour factory. Then he takes him to a silk factory; it’s a little smaller. Then a silver store, which is even smaller. Finally, they visit a jeweler who only has a display case with gold and jewelry. At the end of the day, he asks the farmer, what did you think? He says thanks for a great day but I feel so bad for those business people we met towards the end of the day. When we were in the flour factory, they had so much in stock, bags and bags of flour. But that last guy only had just a few cases of product. His friend turns to him and says you don’t understand — the little bag of rocks is worth more than all those bags of flour! Says the Chofetz Chaim, what percentage of the world is Jewish? What percent of those Jews have heard of the Torah? Both very small numbers. Probably half of all Jews don’t even know what Shabbos is. What percentage of Jews that know about Shabbos observe it? How many people in the world are sitting and learning Torah right now? A miniscule amount. The same way this tiny handful of Chashmonaim took on the Greek army that was thousands more, so too those few Jews who strengthen themselves through the Torah and Mitzvos can take on the entire world. Those handful of Jews who represent Torah and Mitzvos are privileged to be those precious jewels. Few in number, but great in value. HKBH looks at those who choose to be diamonds and says they’re worth more to Me than anyone else. This is the victory of Chanukah and the story of the Jewish people in the end of days. HKBH should give us the strength to be among those diamonds, that small percentage of people who are privileged to live Torah and Mitzvos.