Infinite Within the Finite: On Chanukah

I love this mobius shaped infinite donut for Chanukah:


Seeing this wonderful image reminded me of this Möbius Torah I wrote with Shalom Orzach. Check out Limitless: Möbius Torah 2.0. There we wrote:

The Ari z”l understood that God’s being was Ein Sof without end or limit. God filled everything, hence for creation to happen there needed to be Zimzum- an act of God contracting, diminishing as it were God’s
presence, to make room for the world to come into existence. In order to “create” God had to limit God’s presence.

On Chanukah we celebrate what seems to be God making room by contracting God’s self. There we learn:

The Gemara asks: What is Chanukah, and why are lights kindled on Hanukkah? The Gemara answers: The Sages taught in Megillat Taanit: On the twenty-fifth of Kislev, the days of Chanukah are eight. One may not eulogize on them and one may not fast on them. What is the reason? When the Greeks entered the Sanctuary they defiled all the oils that were in the Sanctuary by touching them. And when the Hasmonean monarchy overcame them and emerged victorious over them, they searched and found only one cruse of oil that was placed with the seal of the High Priest, undisturbed by the Greeks. And there was sufficient oil there to light the candelabrum for only one day. A miracle occurred and they lit the candelabrum from it eight days. The next year the Sages instituted those days and made them holidays with recitation of hallel and special thanksgiving in prayer and blessings. ( Shabbat 21b) 

What started as a civil war was transformed by the Rabbis into a holiday of miracles. Chanukah celebrates the infinite light of the finite oil. The Rabbinic holiday is a celebration of the miracle of the cruse of oil as proof of God’s presence.


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