The Chanukah lights have somewhat unusual rules attached to them. One may not derive personal benefit from them—to read by, for example—but it’s actually a mitzvah to simply gaze at them.

Reb Nosson explains that the lamps of Chanukah allude to the powerful light of mitzvot that fills the home of every Jew. With every good deed that we do, we are able to access the most lofty spiritual light and forge an eternal connection to G-d. We need to look at this light in our mind’s eye and appreciate it.

Nevertheless, we must never presume that the light is ours by right. As the Midrash states, “Who can affix a mezuzah like I commanded until I’ve provided them with the means to build a house? Who can fulfill the mitzvah of brit milah before I brought the child’s mother to conceive and give birth?” We are recipients of the illumination of mitzvoth—this lofty light of Chanukah—but we should never take it for granted nor operate under the misapprehension that we earned it on our own. This luminescence is G-d’s gift to us when we fulfill His commandments, nothing more.

My beloved and generous King: thank You so much for the illumination of my mitzvot as it shines through the Chanukah menorah. Please let me not take Your kindness in generating this brilliant light for granted. Help me to appreciate the value of every mitzvah that I’ve performed without falling into the trap of ego. Help me, so that my mitzvot bring me to humility.   

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Yehudis Golshevsky

Yehudis in her own words: When I first began learning Rebbe Nachman’s teachings with my husband and other teachers, I felt as though I had come home to the personal and vital relationship with G-d that I’d always sought. Today, a large part of my inspiration comes from helping other Jewish women discover their own spiritual potential through the meaningful teachings of Breslov Chassidut.

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