Dvar Torah for Chanukah 5774

In Maoz Tzur we say,

“L’ais Tachin Matbaiach Mitzar Ha’ Menabayach.” 

“We will have a new Chanukas Hamizbaiach when   we will be saved from an enemy that barks.”

What does this mean and who is it talking about?

Rav Moshe Shapiro answers that this is talking about the Exile under the kingdom of Edom.

Why is the Exile of Edom called the enemy that barks?

Rav Moshe Shapiro explains that a dog has the attribute of Azus or Chutzpah (impertinence) and that it is called a chutzpadike animal because it goes into places that it does not belong.  Edom learned this Middah of Chutzpah from Yavan, they went into places that they did not belong.  (i.e. the Bais HaMikdash)

How can we help defeat Edom and bring about the final Chanukas Hamizbayach?

There is another animal that has the Middah of Azus.  The Leopard, but it uses this attribute only for good.  As it says in Pirkei Avos, ‘you should be brave like a leopard to serve Hashem’.  The Chashmonaiim used this middah in the right way to defeat the Yevaniim.   Rav Moshe Shapiro explains that the way for Yidden to overcome Yavan and Edom is to use the Middah of Azus in the right way.  We need to use the Middah of Azus to be brave to go to places that will help us grow in our Avodas Hashem, even if it is hard.

We can understand his answer with a story about a dog.

Once upon a time there were two brothers who lived in Rochester, New York.

In order to get to their Yeshiva they had to walk through a bad neighborhood.  At the beginning of the school year their father walked with them and showed them a back way to get to school.  He hoped that by walking along the quieter roads they would avoid any danger.

When their father felt that they knew the way well enough; he asked them if they were ready to go by themselves.  The boys were a bit scared to walk through the bad neighborhood by themselves but they decided to follow the advice of the Mishna in Pirkei Avos that says, “You should be “Oz Kanamer, (brave like a leopard) La’ asose  Retzon Avicha Shebashamayim.”  They Davened that Hashem should protect them.

They were half-way to school the next day when they saw a scary looking gang walking towards them.  When they tried to turn around and go the other way they stopped.  Behind them was the largest, scariest looking dog that they had ever seen.  Now, they could not go backwards or forward.  They stood frozen in their place.  No one moved.  Then, the dog started walking towards them…. so they walked closer to the gang.  When the gang saw the dog walking in their direction they turned around and ran as fast as they could.   The two brothers kept on walking and the dog kept on following behind them.  The dog followed them all the way to their Yeshiva.

When they walked out of Yeshiva that day they found the dog sitting outside waiting for them.  The dog followed them the whole way home and was waiting by their door for them in the morning.   This continued for a number of years.  The boys were never bothered again,  by anyone.

When we use the Middah of Azus to be brave to go to places that will help us grow in our Avodas Hashem, and to do the Mitzvos the way we should even when it is different than those around us we are using the Middah of Azus the right way and Hashem will help us.

When we use the middah of Azus in the right way like the Chashmonaim we can help bring the final Chanukas Hamizbayach with the building of the Bais Hamikdash, Bimehaira Biyameinu, Amen.

Oh!  And by the way, after the boys left Rochester to go out of town for Yeshiva the dog mysteriously disappeared!!!

Tonight is the Chanukah Mesiba at The Greater Washington Community Kollel.  It behooves all of us to come and participate in this beautiful event which will undoubtedly help us grow closer to Hashem.

The Kollel’s Annual Chanukah Mesibah is today Tuesday, the 7thnight of Chanukah!  Bring the whole family to a festive celebration featuring live music and dancing, delicious Chanukah food, a magic show for children, and inspiring words of Torah from Rabbi Aaron Lopiansky.  7:00 PM at the Kollel (10900 Lockwood Dr.)  Please click for flyer.

Have A Great Chanukah!

About tasteofyeshiva

RABBI YAIR FRIEDMAN teaches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in YES and is the president of Visionary Reading. He was a Rebbi at The Torah School of Greater Washington, and a founding member of the Greater Washington Community Kollel he is the director of Yeshiva L' Baalei Batim and the owner of Camp Gevaldig LLC.
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