Seasons of the Moon - Kislev 5756
Kislev 5756 / 24th November - 23rd December 1995
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THIS MONTH'S SIGN
KESHET / SAGITTARIUS
TRUTH AND BEAUTY
In his Ode on a Grecian Urn, John Keats, the English Romantic poet, wrote "Beauty is Truth, Truth, Beauty". Truth and Beauty - two values representing a historic and perpetual confrontation between The People of the Book and The "Beautiful People", between Jerusalem and Athens.
It's interesting that Keats chose to write his poem on a Grecian urn, for it was Greece that gave the world the idea that Beauty is, in itself, a supreme ideal. Judaism says that that ideal can become an idol . If Beauty doesn't dwell in the tents of Truth, then 'Beauty' may become the 'Beast' - a pretext for hedonism and immorality.
But don't think that there is no place for Beauty in the Jewish
world-view. The Torah states categorically that aesthetics has
a value, but its value is to the extent that it serves Truth,
and uplifts the soul. In other words, Truth is Beauty, but
what is beautiful may not necessarily be true. When you gaze
into the light of your Chanukah candles, remember that their light
shines out with the radiance of the Jewish love for Truth in all
But if you think about it - we should really only light the lights for seven days, because on that first day the lights burned completely naturally - there was enough oil for one day!
So why do we light candles for eight nights - one of those nights was no miracle at all!
That eighth candle we light is for the little miracle called the Jewish People. When Louis the XIV asked Pascal for one piece of evidence of G-d's presence in this world, he replied "The Jews, Your Majesty..."
The survival of the Jewish People is like that one pure flask of oil. It seems so frail. You think it will never survive. But it goes on burning and burning and burning... And the reason it goes on burning is because it is pure.
It's just a little miracle...
Seven notes of the scale,
Seven is the rhythm of the natural world and Eight...
ONE STEP BEYOND.
Eight are the days till Milah,
Raising the body beyond itself.
Bris Milah is
ONE STEP BEYOND.
are written with the same letters
The Soul is
ONE STEP BEYOND.
And Eight are the lights of Chanukah
is ONE STEP BEYOND.
How Many Shopping Days...?
- THIS MONTH'S SIGN - Sefer HaToda'ah , Shem MiShmuel, Rabbi M. Glazerson;
- JUST A LITTLE MIRACLE... - Beis Yosef, Rabbi Mendel Weinbach;
- ONE STEP BEYOND - MaHaral;
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SEASONS OF THE MOON is written by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair and edited by Rabbi Moshe Newman.
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