What is The Reason? Chinuch & Chanukah

Nov 28th, 2010 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, What is the Reason?
In 1984 you dedicated a small cemetery near Saratoga Springs and you seriously considered slaughtering a rooster for what you called the “Chanukat Beit Hakevarot.” I thought you were a little crazy, but since I’ve been reading your website I suspect that you had a good reason. What was it? Why did you decide to not do the thing with the rooster? DO

I was “dead” serious: The Ma’avaor Yabok (Sefat Emet, Chapter 11) teaches in the name of Rabbi Yehudah HaChasid that one should bury a rooster, “Gever,” in an empty grave to weaken and hide the power of “Din,” judgment that derives from the Angel Gavriel. The Pachad Yitzchak (Erech Bet HaKevarot) mentions that many have the custom of slaughtering a rooster without a blessing and burying it next to the first person buried in a new cemetery.

I decided to not do it because of the Chatam Sofer (Y”D 138) and the Pitchei Teshuvah (Y”D 179) who are critical of those who slaughter a rooster before entering a new home for the first time – Chanukat HaBayit –  to ward off Sheidim, or, Demons. They rule that it is absolutely forbidden as such actions and beliefs are, “Darchei Emori,” “The Ways of the Emorites.”

You once visited my home on Chanukah and insisted that I use new wicks each night. My Rav said there is no such law. Did you have a source? You also mentioned a correlation between the Menorah and the Cloud of Glory & Pillar of Fire that guided us through the desert. Sorry, but I don’t remember how they relate. AP

The Eliyahu Rabbah quotes the Tanya Rabbati and the Kol Bo also says that one should use new wicks each night of Chanukah since the miracle was renewed each day of Chanukah and because they used new wicks each day in the Beit Hamikdash.

No need to be sorry about forgetting the connection: The Machzor Vitri (715) writes that we light as long as people are walking home from the marketplace since the verse describing the Cloud says, “The cloud did not leave the people during the day.”

Did you once teach us in your Jewish History class in YULA that there was also a miracle with the Mizbei’ach in the Chanukah story? JS

The Chidah (Midbar Kadmut, page 61) teaches that when the Chashmonaim rebuilt the Altar, they could not find “Holy” fire, and it rose up by itself from the stones of the Altar. He says that there is a hint in the fact that the gematria of Menorah and “Aish,” or fire, is the same.

One of your students told me that you said that there is no Mitzvah of Chinuch after a child reaches Bar or Bat Mitzvah. That’s nuts! Anonymous

The Tziyunim LaTorah (12) agrees with you that there is still a Mitzvah of Chinuch after Bar or Bat Mitzvah. I don’t think he would agree with your calling my words, “Nuts!”  My sources are Rashi,the Ran, and the Meiri on Succah, who all rule that after Bar Mitzvah it is not Chinuch, but Tochacha – Rebuke. (As explained by the Debritziner on Chinuch Banim)

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