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המעשה הוא העיקר
“HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar”
538 Crown Street, Brooklyn, NY 11213
Tel: (718) 363-3448 Fax: (718) 467-6919
We are pleased to bring you this newly revised edition of a Call to Action. Translated from its Hebrew counterpart, HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar, this presentation is a collection of practical instruction from the Rebbe’s Sichos pertaining to " Zos Chanukah - The eighth day of Chanukah”
HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar is a compilation of Hora’os (“directives”) culled from the Rebbe’s talks in the years 5748 to 5752 (1988-1992), from both edited and unedited sources (“Muga” and “Bilti Muga”); we have expended great effort in our attempt to capture some of the Rebbe’s carefully calculated and instructive phrasing. This edition’s English translation was provided by Rabbi Yaakov Paley.
At this time, when Moshiach’s arrival is imminent, the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, has emphasized the primacy of action. We are now beginning to experience the era when we will fully appreciate “the superiority of deed” above scholarship. May this take place completely and immediately!
Editorial Office of
HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar
Introduction / Bring the Chanukah campaign to a climax / Prepare for an illuminated year / Study the Alter Rebbe’s Ma’amor / Live with its message / Don’t forget “Chanukah Gelt” / They’re worth the money / Oif Shabbos Geredt / Implement Chanukah’s message / Farbreng into action / Publicize and practice these directives / More each day
The eighth day of Chanukah
The final day of Chanukah carries its own title: “Zos Chanukah” (“this is Chanukah”).
The name is taken from the phrase found in the Torah reading for the eighth day of Chanukah, “Zos Chanukas HaMizbe’ach,” “This was the dedication [offering] of the Altar, etc.” [For a deeper significance, see footnote 4.]
· On the last night of the Yom Tov of Chanukah, a full set of eight Menorah lights shine forth. It is the responsibility of every man, woman and child to utilize this day by completing the activities that compose the Chanukah awareness campaign.
· This involves both “Hashlamah” and “Shleimus” – “making up” for that which is lacking, as well as “perfecting” that which exists – to the very height of perfection.
· The last day of Chanukah serves as a summary that encapsulates all the previous days. We should therefore make an accounting of our Chanukah activities and achievements, in order to draw the themes and lessons of Chanukah into our divine service throughout the year, in concrete action.2
Study the Alter Rebbe’s Ma’amor
· We should study the discourse authored by the Alter Rebbe (with the added notations of the Tzemach Tzedek), which explains the greatness of “Zos Chanukah.” At the very least, we should study a part of that discourse – or even a few lines.4
· The main thing is to “live” with its message. This can be accomplished even prior to studying the discourse – for the very awareness that such a discourse exists already awakens our excitement and passion.
Don’t forget “Chanukah Gelt”
· If you have not yet fulfilled the custom to distribute “Chanukah Gelt” this year, immediate resolve to make up for this omission; grab the opportunity presented by the last days and final hours of Chanukah. Failing that, make up for it in the days directly following Chanukah – the sooner the better!
They’re worth the money
· There is room to suggest that even those who have already fulfilled this custom should give yet more “Chanukah Gelt.”
After all, just think of the immense Chassidisher “Nachas” (pleasure) that they already derive from their sons and daughters, coupled with all the future “Nachas” that they will reap due to the new enhancement in their children’s education that are undoubtedly implementing…
· When “Zos Chanukah” coincides with Shabbos, resolutions concerning “Chanukah Gelt” should nevertheless be made [despite their reference to money, which is normally avoided on Shabbos].
This should be done while it is still Chanukah – especially as it is also “Zos Chanukah,” the conclusion and finale of Chanukah.7
Implement Chanukah’s message
· At the conclusion of Chanukah, each of us (men, woman and children) should resolve to increase – with far greater vigor – in all matters concerning “the flame of Mitzvos and the light of Torah.” This begins with the profuse study of Torah as well as disseminating Torah and Chassidus.
· Ideally, we should begin implementing the above by holding additional Farbrengens, where the participants should (1) further enhance their study of Chassidus and then (2) make positive resolutions regarding the days to come, i.e., to increase their study and dissemination of Chassidus and to increase in all good and holy matters.11
· We should publicize these directives [concerning “Chanukah Gelt” and other positive resolutions] in each and every location. The main thing is for these words to have their desired effect in literal, concrete action.
· After Chanukah, we should continue implementing the instructions and lessons of Chanukah, and continuously increase – from day to day – in all good and holy matters, persisting with such additions throughout the rest of the year.
מוקדש לכ"ק אדמו"ר מלך המשיח
. Note that the days of Chanukah are referred to as “Yomim Tovim” (Parshas Vayishlach 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.437, in the footnote).
. Zos Chanukah, after Shacharis, 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.90.
. Likutei Torah (88b), Derushei Shemini Atzeres; Or HaTorah, Chanukah (vol.5), p.962a (discourse beginning on p.957b, entitled “Boruch SheAsa Nissim”). See also Kuntres Zos Chanukah 5750, Sefer HaMa’amorim Meluket, vol.4, p.109.
. There’s always a way to study Torah
We find a comparable concept stated in the Shelah: When one is unable to study Torah, for whatever reason, he should at least recite the titles of the Chumashim, Parshas, or the names of the Talmudic tractates and the like; it will be considered as if he had actually studied. (Parshas Mikeitz 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.86)
In his discourse (which contains notations of the Tzemach Tzedek), the Alter Rebbe gives an explanation of “Zos Chanukah”:
There are two ways of looking at the eight days of Chanukah. The first is to view the first day as primary, with the other seven coming subsequent to it; this is alluded to by the word “Oz” (אז), i.e., one (א) followed by seven (ז). The second view sees the final day as primary, with the previous seven leading up to it; this is represents by the words “Zos” (זאת), in which the 7 (ז) are preparatory to the final day (א).
Potential vs. actual
[“Why might we view the first day as primary? Since it contains all the remaining days in potential form; this is similar to the fact that the oil of the Chanukah miracle that was lit on the first night of Chanukah was the same oil that burned during the seven subsequent nights.
On the other hand, the superiority of the final day of Chanukah is that it encapsulates the previous seven in actuality.” – footnotes 2 and 4]
Spiritual source of Chanukah
The number eight represents a level of divinity that [transcends the natural order represented by “seven,” as in the seven days of the weekly cycle. This “eighth” level] “guards” or “contains” the natural processes, and in Kabbalistic terminology, it represents the divine attribute of “Binah,” “understanding.”
Binah contains [or “gives birth to”] the seven lower attributes [known as the “Middos,” the emotional attributes] and is alluded to by the verse “the mother of the children is joyful.” [The six “masculine” attributes are considered her “son,” and the seventh, “feminine” attribute], known as “Malchus,” “royalty,” is considered her “daughter”… [Thus the last day of Chanukah may be considered the spiritual “source” of the entire Chanukah.]
We will certainly find many more insights into “Zos Chanukah” when we study this discourse together with the other Chanukah discourses, such as those printed in Torah Or, Toras Chaim and Or HaTorah. (ibid, Zos Chanukah, p.94)
. Zos Chanukah 5752; Sichos Kodesh p.473
. A communal affair
Despite the prohibition against engaging in mundane or business talk during Shabbos, the Sages ruled that “We look into the needs of the community on Shabbos.” [In keeping with that ruling:] Concerning the customary distribution of “Chanukah Gelt” to boys and girls – all those who have not yet fulfilled this custom (in a perfect manner), should strive to make up for it during the subsequent days… (Parshas Mikeitz 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.88-89)
Chanukah’s not over till you give “Gelt”
The positive resolution in this regard should be made [today] on Shabbos, while it is still Chanukah, or, more precisely, “Zos Chanukah” – the conclusion and culmination of the entire Chanukah.
In some locations, this directive will only reach them following Havadalah [when Shabbos – and the last day of Chanukah – will have concluded]. Nevertheless, since it will be emphasized that the directive was issued in the present Farbrengen … in close proximity to the Leader of our Generation, on Shabbos and “Zos Chanukah,” the activities that result will clearly retain their connection to Chanukah.
Certainly, though, the directive should be fulfilled as soon as possible, in order to emphasize that these activities come are associated with, and are in fact a continuation of, Chanukah – and were not awkwardly stuck-on after the fact (Yiddish: Nit kein tzugetchepete zach)… (ibid, p.92)
Nothing is lost
Each of us should act to increase our distribution of “Chanukah Gelt,” despite the fact that it will then be after the Ma’ariv prayer [and no longer Chanukah] … for, as the famous saying goes, “nothing is lost in the realm of goodness” – especially after the immense granting of ability that came with the eight days of Chanukah (and particularly its last day, which included all of the previous)
… Not only is nothing “lost,” but in fact, everything can still be accomplished with far greater vigor. (Zos Chanukah, after Minchah, 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.96)
. Parshas Mikeitz 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.92. See previous footnote.
The Rebbe distributes post-Chanukah Gelt
Publisher’s Note: On Sunday, the 7th day of Chanukah (beginning shortly before Minchah and the kindling of the eighth light of Chanukah and continuing a long time afterwards), the Rebbe distributed “Chanukah Gelt”: Each man, woman and child received a dollar coin (for “Gelt”) and a dollar bill (for Tzedakah).
The following day (Zos Chanukah), after Minchah and after Ma’ariv [although it was no longer Chanukah], the Rebbe again distributed a coin and a bill to all present. (Parshas Mikeitz 5752, footnote 152; Hisva’aduyos p.40)
The Rebbe explains
There is a special association between Chanukah and Tzedakah, as is underscored by the custom to distribute “Chanukah Gelt.”
We should continue this practice even following Chanukah – and even on Shabbos, in a permissible manner: by hosting guests and so forth.
It was for this very reason that an innovation was introduced to the annual distribution of “Chanukah Gelt,” namely, that we distributed “Gelt” on the night following the conclusion of Chanukah. This entirely unprecedented practice was done in order to promote and further encourage the distributing of Tzedakah – either to Tzedakah institutions or to individuals who require aid and support. (Parshas Vayigash 5751; Hisva’aduyos p.103)
. Steal from your business – Hashem will repay
… Both its “revealed” and “esoteric” parts. Simply put, we should study Torah profusely, both in quality and quantity, via “stealing” some time that we had allocated for business pursuits. As a result of this, Hashem will certainly provide him with an abundance of gold and silver to cover all his costs – including expenses incurred by his enhanced performance of Mitvos, tuition fees for his sons and daughters, dowries and wedding gifts for his sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, as well as all that he requires in order to conduct his household with expansiveness, as befits each and every Jew – the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. (Parshas Mikeitz 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.88)
. You’re working with a pre-paid budget
… The same applies to disseminating Torah and Judaism, and particularly the teachings of Chassidus: One should not decrease, G-d forbid, on account of the expenses involved – Hashem will certainly provide an abundance of wealth, as required. The very nature of the world itself supports the complete dissemination of Chassidus, and the necessary gold and silver is already prepared and waiting to be utilized to this end; the wealth is either already in his “pocket” or sitting on his “shelf,” or perhaps he still needs to go and collect the wealth that has already been transferred into his ownership… (ibid.)
… These Farbrengens should take place (1) following Minchah, in the time that is Kabbalisticaly known as “Ra’avah DeRa’avin [“will of wills”; the most sublime level of Shabbos that occurs towards evening, before the holy day’s conclusion]; (2) on Motzei Shabbos, during the “meal of David, King Moshiach” [“Melave Malkah”]; and (3) during the next few days. (ibid, p.88)
. Recipe for a Farbrengen
Simply stated: A Chassidisher Farbrengen accompanied with the saying of “L’chaim!” Naturally, they should be carried out within “Keilim DeTikkun” [in an orderly and acceptable manner], yet elicit and contain the “Oros DeTohu” [powerful levels of divinity with profound accomplishments]. (Parshas Mikeitz 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.92)
. Food for the innermost soul
In addition to encouraging each other to accept positive resolutions concerning the dissemination of Chassidus, we should also study Chassidus during the actual Farbrengen itself – at least for a brief while; better to skimp on quantity that to lessen the quality, since we are talking about the innermost dimension of the Torah that is bound with the innermost dimension of our souls... (ibid, p.92)
. Ibid, p.89
. The next day
Extra emphasis is placed on the day immediately following Chanukah. Although there is no day of “Isru Chag” [the semi-festive day that follows the major festivals] – and there is room to research and expound on this detail – it is nevertheless plainly obvious that the closer we are to Chanukah, the more readily discernable is Chanukah’s influence and “continuation.”
How much more so on the first day immediately following Chanukah – and even more so on the night directly following its conclusion, at the very start of the evening and even before the nightly Ma’ariv prayer; such a time is certainly extremely connected to Chanukah’s conclusion – “Zos Chanukah.” (Zos Chanukah, after Minchah, 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.95)
. Festival of light
This can be inferred from all other festivals: If their influence continues to shine throughout the rest of the year, then the light of Chanukah certainly illuminates the year. (ibid, p.77, footnote 84)
. Did Chanukah reach you?
It is plainly obvious that the measuring rod by which to determine whether a person truly absorbed the messages of Chanukah into the depths of his innermost self … is when, on the day following Chanukah, we see him continuing to fulfill the directives of Chanukah in actuality. (Eve of 5th of Teiveis 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.99-100) See the lengthy explanation there.
Based on spiritual instinct
There is great superiority to Chanukah activities that are continued after Chanukah: We are not doing so merely to fulfill a directive – the theme of Chanukah. Rather, these activities are an innovation that evolved from the Jewish people themselves. They therefore bear a similar virtue to that of a Rabbinic enactment over a Biblical command, or the virtue of a Jewish custom over a Rabbinic enactment. In this case, the continued Chanukah directives do not even carry the obligation of an established Jewish custom. (Parshas Mikeitz 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.77)