Where Does Hallel Come From? The Organization of Hallel and Parshas Emor – Part 3

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24 Nov 2021

To briefly review, in the first two parts of this article I advanced the central thesis that the yearly roster of the special holy-days listed in Vayikra chapter 23 within Parshas Emor might serve as an ‘organizer’ for the kepitlach of Hallel. The seven special times of Emor are: (1) Shabbos; (2) Pesach; (3) Shavuos; (4) Rosh Hashanah; (5) Yom Kippur; (6) Sukkos; (7) Shemini Atzeres.

By focusing upon the words—reflected by their sheroshim—as well as the theme and the tone of each kepitil or section, I demonstrated a one-to-one correspondence between each kepitil or section of Hallel and each sequential holy-day listed in Emor.

When this article was originally conceived and written, it was essentially all conjectural, advanced as hypothesis.  No attempt was made to provide support from within Chazal or rabbinic sources for an idea which to me seemed to be novel. That was not by choice; I searched diligently for corroboration, but found nothing convincing.

In the interim, I stumbled across an impeccable source in Parshas Emor which I believe provides strong support for the central thesis—to wit, the Baal haTurim, a rishon. If indeed you harbor some healthy skepticism regarding the validity of our central thesis—read on, in Part III of The Organization of Hallel and Parshas Emor,

It’s an easy Baal haTurim to miss when one is focused on topic—for it is NOT written on the pesukim discussing the holy days at all. Rather, it is written on the next subsequent paragraph in Chumash, a place where one would not routinely read, when he is interested in the Yomim Tovim!

The Baal haTurim’s comments are especially germane, since it is clear that he makes them predicated on the observation that that particular paragraph (along with the following three paragraphs in Emor) are ‘out of place’ and don’t seem to really ‘belong’ in Parshas Emor.

FIRST, AN INTRODUCTION: The Structure of Sefer Vayikra…

Let’s explain. Sefer Vayikra has been labeled as Sefer haKedushah by Abarbanel and other sages. That is an apt appellation for this Book, literally and figuratively the centerpiece of the Torah. Chazal teach us that there are three general categories of kedushah all of which are sequentially addressed by the mitzvos described within Sefer Vayikra. They are: Kedushas Hamakom, Kedushas Haguf, and Kedushas Zman.

1) Kedushas Hamakom—ie ‘How one should behave in the PLACE of the Presence of the Shechinah’, specifically the Mishkan or Mikdash (and by extension in halachah a ‘mikdash m’ot’, a place designated as a shul).

These laws include the laws of korbanos which are described in Vayikra chapters 1-7, and conclude with the narrative of the Chanukas haMishkan from the Levi’ims’ perspective in Vayikra 8-10 (a narrative which is parallel and complementary to the same event described in Shemos 40 from Moshe’s perspective, and in Bamidbar 6:22-8:59 from Klal Yisrael’s perspective! I believe it is the only event in Chumash which is described 3 separate times. Even the creation of Man and Ma’amad Har Sinai are only described twice. The establishment of a stable and durable relationship between Ribono shel Olam and His Nation [through Midas Harachamim] is arguably the most important event in human history!);

2) Kedushas Haguf—ie how to keep one’s physical body separate/holy/sanctified. These include laws of kashrus in Vayikra 11, presented in Vayikra not from the standpoint of kosher vs non-kosher (as in Devarim 14), but rather from the standpoint of tamei  vs tahor, because exposure to the ‘wrong’ foods renders one’s BODY tamei, and unfit to visit the MAKOM of the Shechinah. (You are what you eat!) Note the use of the refrains טָמֵ֥א ה֖וּא לָכֶֽם and the parallel phrase שֶׁ֥קֶץ ה֖וּא לָכֶֽם, as well as summary passages such as:

כד וּלְאֵלֶּה  תִּטַּמָּאוּ; כָּל-הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּנִבְלָתָם  יִטְמָא עַד-הָעָרֶב: כה וְכָל-הַנֹּשֵׂא  מִנִּבְלָתָם–יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו  וְטָמֵא עַד-הָעָרֶב:… כח וְהַנֹּשֵׂא  אֶת-נִבְלָתָם–יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו  וְטָמֵא עַד-הָעָרֶב; טְמֵאִים הֵמָּה לָכֶם:… מד כִּי אֲנִי י-הוָה  אֱ-לֹהֵיכֶם  וְהִתְקַדִּשְׁתֶּם וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים  כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אָנִי; וְלֹא תְטַמְּאוּ אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם  בְּכָל-הַשֶּׁרֶץ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל-הָאָרֶץ:  מה כִּי אֲנִי יְ-הוָה  הַמַּעֲלֶה אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם  לִהְיֹת לָכֶם  לֵא-לֹהִים; וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים  כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אָנִי:  מו זֹאת תּוֹרַת הַבְּהֵמָה  וְהָעוֹף  וְכֹל נֶפֶשׁ הַחַיָּה  הָרֹמֶשֶׂת בַּמָּיִם; וּלְכָל-נֶפֶשׁ  הַשֹּׁרֶצֶת עַל-הָאָרֶץ:  מז לְהַבְדִּיל  בֵּין הַטָּמֵא וּבֵין הַטָּהֹר; וּבֵין הַחַיָּה  הַנֶּאֱכֶלֶת  וּבֵין הַחַיָּה  אֲשֶׁר לֹא תֵאָכֵל:

The discussion of Kedushas Haguf continues in Vayikra with the tumah of childbirth (Chap 12) and tzara’as and its remedies (Chap 13-14) and the tumah of bodily emissions (Chap 15). Following these are the forbidden sexual relationships (Chap 18) and their punishments (Chap 20). Note within summary pesukim such as 18:24-30 and 20:22-26 that the nature of the dialog is still Tumas Haguf, the flip-side of Kedushas Haguf. (You are what you do!):

יח:כד  אַל-תִּטַּמְּאוּ  בְּכָל-אֵלֶּה  כִּי בְכָל-אֵלֶּה נִטְמְאוּ הַגּוֹיִם  אֲשֶׁר-אֲנִי מְשַׁלֵּחַ מִפְּנֵיכֶם:  כה וַתִּטְמָא הָאָרֶץ  וָאֶפְקֹד עֲוֺנָהּ עָלֶיהָ; וַתָּקִא הָאָרֶץ  אֶת-יֹשְׁבֶיהָ:    כז כִּי אֶת-כָּל-הַתּוֹעֵבֹת הָאֵל  עָשׂוּ אַנְשֵׁי-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵיכֶם; וַתִּטְמָא  הָאָרֶץ:  כח וְלֹא-תָקִיא הָאָרֶץ אֶתְכֶם  בְּטַמַּאֲכֶם אֹתָהּ  כַּאֲשֶׁר קָאָה אֶת-הַגּוֹי  אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵיכֶם:  כט כִּי כָּל-אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה  מִכֹּל הַתּוֹעֵבֹת הָאֵלֶּה וְנִכְרְתוּ הַנְּפָשׁוֹת הָעֹשֹׂת  מִקֶּרֶב עַמָּם  ל וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת-מִשְׁמַרְתִּי  לְבִלְתִּי עֲשׂוֹת מֵחֻקּוֹת הַתּוֹעֵבֹת אֲשֶׁר נַעֲשׂוּ לִפְנֵיכֶם  וְלֹא תִטַּמְּאוּ  בָּהֶם:  אֲנִי  יְ-הוָה אֱ-לֹהֵיכֶם .

..   and finally, in 20:26

כ:כו וִהְיִיתֶם לִי קְדֹשִׁים  כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי יְ-הוָה; וָאַבְדִּל אֶתְכֶם מִן-הָעַמִּים  לִהְיוֹת לִי:

That brings us to the beginning of Parshas Emor, where the discussion of Kedushas Haguf continues in Chap 21-22 in the description of relationships and physical  blemishes which invalidate the BODY of the kohen or korbonos, so that they may not participate in the service of HaShem.

However, with 22:26 the Chumash shifts abruptly into its discussion of –

3) Kedushas Zman— Holiness of Time. This starts with the mitzvos disqualifying an animal offering during the first seven DAYS of life, and on the SAME DAY as its offspring. This segues directly to the roster of the special holy days—special and holy TIMES— which are the focus of this article.

The discussion of Kedushas Zman continues in Parshas Behar with the laws of the seven-year shmita cycle, and the 50-year yovel (Chap 25).

Parenthetically, at the very end of Sefer Vayikra we are magically returned [from the Presence of God within the Mishkan, where It had dwelled since the end of Sefer Shemos,] to Har Sinai, where all three Kedushos were present [1]  : the Shechinah descended from Shamayim to rest upon the mountain, which became a PLACE of especial  holiness, cordoned off from the surrounding Klal Yisrael, who in turn sanctified their BODIES during the three days of hagbalah/separation, while the TIME of the Revelation assumed a special and perpetual holiness (Chag Shavuos). The Tochachah in Bechukosai follows, a logical progression according to a Mechilta cited by Chizkuni (a rishon) on Shemos 24:7. There it states that the “Sefer HaBris” read by Moshe to the nation at Ma’amad Har Sinai was in fact the Tochachah in Bechukosai. This Sefer HaBris lays out in no uncertain terms the consequences of keeping— or not keeping— the covenant we agreed upon at the mountain, sealed by a blood-sprinkling ceremony upon the nation, eternally binding (Shemos 24:3-8).


HOWEVER, here is where it gets interesting. For immediately after the roster of the Holy days in Emor—right smack in the middle of the Torah’s presentation of Mitzvos shel Kedushas ZMAN— there are four parshia/paragraphs that clearly don’t belong: specifically, the entirety of Vayikra chapter 24!

They include three topics:

1) the command to take pure olive oil for Aharon to arrange every evening[2] upon the Menorah—which would seem to belong back in Parshas Terumah, most likely after the command to make the Menorah following Shemos 25:40, or in Teztaveh after Shemos 27:21, which describes what appears to be the exact same commandment!

2) the command to take fine flour to bake the 12 Showbreads to restock in the Shulchan every Shabbos[3]—which would seem to belong back in Parshas Terumah after the command to build the Shulchan following Shemos 25:29;

3) the puzzling narrative of the Blasphemer, the Mekallel, and the Divine edict to stone him—which would seem to belong back in Mishpatim after the negative command of Birkas HaShem, not to curse God in Shemos 22:27: אֱ-לֹהִים לֹא תְקַלֵּל; וְנָשִׂיא בְעַמְּךָ לֹא תָאֹר. This point is made more obvious by the other, unrelated laws included in HaShem’s stoning decree in Emor, lifted right out of Mishpatim—The legal disposition of a willful murderer, one who kills livestock, an eye for an eye, etc

The anomaly of the placement of these paragraphs immediately after the roster of the Yomim Tovim is glaring –and is quick to draw the eye of the Tur, AKA the Baal haTurim, who makes two curious comments regarding the Menorah oil.

First, let’s quote the pesukim, and then we will cite the Baal haTurim.

כד:א  וַיְדַבֵּר יְ-הוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר:  ב צַו אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד:  ג מִחוּץ לְפָרֹכֶת הָעֵדֻת בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד יַעֲרֹךְ אֹתוֹ אַהֲרֹן מֵעֶרֶב עַד-בֹּקֶר לִפְנֵי יְ-הוָה תָּמִיד חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם:  ד עַל הַמְּנֹרָה הַטְּהֹרָה, יַעֲרֹךְ אֶת-הַנֵּרוֹת לִפְנֵי יְ-הוָה תָּמִיד:

Comes the Baal haTurim and makes 2 statements on 24:2:

כד:ב  ויקחו אליך שמן זית סמיך שמן זית לסוכה לומר שגומרים ההלל כל שמונת ימי חנוכה כדרך שגומרין אותו כל שמונת ימי החג:

להעלות נר ואח”כ כתיב נרות והיינו כב”ה שבליל ראשון מדליק נר אחד ומוסיף והולך:

And you shall take for yourself olive oil— [The parshia of] olive oil is juxtaposed to Sukkah to teach that we complete Hallel all eight days of Chanukah, just like we complete it all eight days of the Chag.

To raise the [singular] lamp [flame]—And [2 pesukim] later [in posuk 24:4] it is written: “[he shall arrange] the lamps [in the plural]. That is the opinion of Beis Hillel, that on the first night [of Chanukah] one lights a single candle, and sequentially adds one each night.

Clearly the Baal haTurim is predicating his chidush on the unusual placement of this parshia. Since attention is already focused on the yomim tovim, he draws the obvious conclusion that the reference to the oil of the Mishkan’s Menorah represents a remez min Hatorah to the yom tov midivrei sofrim of Chanukah. This is quite parallel to the Tanchuma’s aggadic explanation of the juxtaposition of B’ha’aloscha— Aharon’s command to ‘raise’ the lamps of the Menorah— with the chanukas hamizbei’ach  of the Nesi’im at the end of Parshas Naso. Rashi’s and Ramban’s[4] comments there would have made awareness of that midrash common knowledge among Torah scholars.

Apparently no such midrash appears here. However, even in the absence of a midrash, the Baal  haTurim goes Ramban one better—he darshans an actual pesak halachah from the semichus, not merely an aggadic teaching: just as we complete Hallel all eight days of the Sukkos/Shemini Atzeres chag so do we complete Hallel all eight days of Chanukah.


Where did that come from? There is no mention of Hallel or even ‘praising God’ anywhere in the Emor listing of the holidays, nor any discussion of same amongst the commentaries to that parshia.

Why focus on Hallel?

Unless—the Baal haTurim was already aware of a strong relationship between Hallel and the holy days of Emor, and indeed regarded it as an obvious insight which did not require explicit comment!


We still need to make one further connection. It seems to me that the Baal haTurim’s comments only provide support for our central thesis IF the remez to Chanukah appears in Hallel itself, as well as in the semichus in the Torah. On the calendar, Chanukah follows Sukkos/Shemini Atzeres, so we would expect the reference to Chanukah in Hallel to follow that of Shemini Atzeres. Kepitil 118 was the chapter we associated with Shemini Atzeres—but that is the final chapter in Hallel!

So if the remez is there, it must be lurking in the final pesukim of 118.

Is it? Let’s take a closer look at the last four pesukim:

קיח:כו בָּר֣וּךְ הַ֭בָּא בְּשֵׁ֣ם יְ-הוָ֑ה בֵּ֝רַֽכְנוּכֶ֗ם מִבֵּ֥ית יְ-הוָֽה׃ כז אֵ֤-ל ׀ יְ-הוָה֮ וַיָּ֪אֶר לָ֥נוּ אִסְרוּ־חַ֥ג בַּעֲבֹתִ֑ים עַד־קַ֝רְנ֗וֹת הַמִּזְבֵּֽחַ׃ כח  אֵ-לִ֣י אַתָּ֣ה וְאוֹדֶ֑ךָּ אֱ֝-לֹהַ֗י אֲרוֹמְמֶֽךָּ: כט הוֹד֣וּ לַי-הוָ֣ה כִּי־ט֑וֹב כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם חַסְדּֽוֹ׃

Posuk 26. It may be a bit fanciful, but it seems to me that if the stones of the Beis Hamikdash could speak, that is how they would have greeted the Chashmona’im: “You’re coming in the Name of God to rescue me from the daily humiliation and rape that the Greeks have subjected me to? In that case I extend welcome and blessings from the House of HaShem to you!”

Pesukim 28/29. In the Gemorah’s discussion of Chanukah in Meseches Shabbos 21b (referenced by the Baal haTurim in his second comment on Vayikra 24:2 [5] ) it states that the following year after the Beis Hamikdash was reclaimed along with the miracle of the oil, the Chashmona’im “set and established [those days], and made them ‘Yomim Tovim b’Hallel v’Hoda’ah’ ”.

Hallel is, well— Hallel. But where is Hoda’ah? Look no farther than these two pesukim, for the shoresh for Hoda’ah is repeated twice!

Posuk 27 is the most compelling. There, clearly showcased, is LIGHTING (using the kal form of the verb וַיָּ֪אֶר reminiscent of its parallel usage in B’ha’aloscha 8:2, …יָאִ֖ירוּ שִׁבְעַ֥ת הַנֵּרֽוֹת ) as well as the MIZBEI’ACH, both of which were re-dedicated by the Chashmona’im, and both of which are referenced in our yearly Torah-reading for Chanukah!

I rest my case. Hallel indeed includes the remez to Chanukah found within Parshas Emor!


What about the other two parshios—the Shulchan and the Mekallel?

The Shulchan is an easy one. If the Menorah’s oil hints to Chanukah, then it is slam-dunk that the Shulchan hints at the next yom tov midivrei sofrim, Purim. As I note in another article (One Coin—Two Sides), Chanukah and Purim represent a matched pair. Chanukah is the holiday of the Jew’s spiritual survival in galus. (That’s why it is an eight- rather than a seven-day holiday.) Purim is the holiday of the Jew’s physical survival in galus, and is more properly represented by the Shulchan, which contains physical nourishment from HaShem on a weekly basis. Moreover much of Megilas Esther’s narrative centers around sumptuous feasting and food.

The Baal haTurim does not make mention of the Shulchan in reference to Hallel, nor do we recite it, nor is a remez easily found in Kepitil 118. In Meseches Eruchin 10b two reasons are given for the omission: 1) the public reading of the Megilah IS its Hallel; and 2) Hallel is not recited on miracles which occur outside the borders of Eretz Yisrael once the land had been conquered and settled. According to the Gemarah’s first answer, there is indeed a chiyuv to recite Hallel on Purim; according to the second, there is not. Perhaps the Baal haTurim poskins like the Gemarah’s second answer.

The Mekallel is a bit harder.

It may also be a bit fanciful, but I can’t help noticing the similarity between הַֽמְקַלֵל and הַֽמְהַלֵל. When one sings God’s praises he is a ֽמְהַלֵל. When one curses God he is a מְקַלֵל. Yet to go from one extreme to the other, one needs merely to extend the foot of the hei, to convert it to a kuf. Perhaps the Torah wishes to convey a teaching along those lines. Celebrate together with God– or…

Or perhaps there is another yom tov midivrei sofrim yet to come. Bimos Hamoshi’ach, bimheirah b’yameinu.

Earlier in the article I posited that perhaps Ribono shel Olam has His own holidays that He celebrates together with us: Shavuos and Shemini Atzeres. That was on the basis that 1) both holidays were eights/eight equivalents; 2) neither has a fixed date on the human calendar in the way the Chumash presents them; and 3) neither contains any commandments for the individual Jew.

Chanukah is an eight, It is l’maaleh min hateva, and thus it ‘belongs’ to HaShem. Yet it is not like the other two such holidays. It has a set calendar date, and an associated avodah— the mitzvah of Hadlakas Neiros. It is in a category by itself—almost as if it is both HaShem’s holiday AND ours, celebrated as equal partners.

And why not? That message is entirely consistent with the Chanukah story. In opposing the Greeks and recapturing the Beis Hamikdash and our own spiritual heritage, we demonstrated beyond any doubt how fervently we wished to partner with Hakadosh Boruch Hu!

So the next time you say Hallel OR light your Chanukah candles—think about the totality of the yomim tovim.

Consider how God— Master of the Universe— gives us a whole year full of wonderful holy-days, days in which He rejoices together with us.

And more.

Consider how God —אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָׂמַיִם — has His own holy-days— yet He exclusively invites us to celebrate together with Him.

 And further, consider how we and God can truly share a holiday b’shutphus, as equal partners so to speak, pursuing a shared goal.

The two of us are inseparable.

Always were. Always will be.

And let your heart sing.

Composed largely on the 5th of Sh’vat 5777, the 19th yahrtzeit of my mother, Bede Yaffe ע”ה, Beila d’Raizia bas Baruch HaLevi

 A lesson that she lived and taught to me

[1]  Not so incidentally, the three types of kedushah imbuing the mitzvos of Vayikra are reflections kaviyochol of characteristics of Hakadosh Boruch Hu, Himself! See the excerpt of Targum Yonusun on the Maaseh Merkovah of Yeshiyahu quoted in the davening within the prayer of וּבָא לְצִיּוֹן גּוֹאֵל. There Ben Uziel expands the phrase “Holy, Holy, Holy” sung by the angels to mean three separate domains of holiness, parallel to what are discussed above, va’akmal:

וְאַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל: וְקָרָא זֶה אֶל זֶה וְאָמַר: קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ יְ-הֹוָה צְבָא-וֹת מְלֺא כָל הָאָֽרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ:

וּמְ֒קַבְּ֒לִין דֵּין מִן דֵּין וְאָמְ֒רִין:

קַדִּישׁ בִּשְׁ֒מֵי מְרוֹמָא עִלָּאָה בֵּית שְׁכִינְתֵּהּ      God is holy in the highest of the high heavens,

the PLACE of His dwelling/Shechinah = Kedushas HAMAKOM

קַדִּישׁ עַל אַרְעָא עוֹבַד גְּבוּרְתֵּהּ    God is holy upon the Earth [the place of creations

with  physical BODIES],  the work of His strength = Kedushas HAGUF

קַדִּישׁ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְ֒מֵי עָלְ֒מַיָּא God is holy in TIME, forever and ever = Kedushas ZMAN

יְ-הֹוָה צְבָא-וֹת, מַלְיָא כָל אַרְעָא זִיו יְקָרֵהּ:

This concept actually follows axiomatically from pesukim such as :

יט:ב דַּבֵּר אֶל-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל  וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ  כִּי קָדוֹשׁ  אֲנִי יְ-הוָה אֱ-לֹהֵיכֶם:    and

כ:כו וִהְיִיתֶם לִי קְדֹשִׁים כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי יְ-הוָה וָאַבְדִּל אֶתְכֶם מִן-הָעַמִּים לִהְיוֹת לִי:

[2] One could argue that the Torah’s emphasis on the Tamid-continual- nature of the command earns it a place in the discussion of Kedushas Zman.

Perhaps, but that raises the question of why other Tamid  commandments of the Mishkan were NOT included here, such as  the Tamid offering from Shemos 29:39,  and the Ketores service from Shemos 30:8

[3] See previous endnote, given that the time frame is ‘each Shabbos, eac h Shabbos… Tamid’

[4]  For Readers who wish to refresh their memory of the discussion there, the entire text of Ramban (who also quotes Rashi) is included below. Of interest, Ramban lived a single generation prior to the Baal haTurim; they were very nearly contemporaries!

ח:ב  בהעלתך “למה נסמכה פרשת מנורה לחנכת הנשיאים? לפי שכשראה אהרן חנוכת הנשיאים, חלשה דעתו שלא היה עמהם בחנוכה, לא הוא ולא שבטו; אמר לו הקב”ה: חייך, שלך גדולה משלהם, שאתה מדליק ומטיב את הנרות בקר וערב”, לשון רש”י (רש”י על במדבר ח׳:ב׳) ממדרש אגדה. ולא נתברר לי, למה ניחמו בהדלקת הנרות, ולא ניחמו בקטורת בקר וערב, ששיבחו בו הכתוב (דברים לג י): “ישימו קטורה באפך”, ובכל הקרבנות, ובמנחת חביתין, ובעבודת יום הכפורים שאינה כשרה אלא בו, ונכנס לפני ולפנים, ושהוא קדוש ה’ עומד בהיכלו לשרתו ולברך בשמו, ושבטו כלו משרתי א-להינו? ועוד: מה טעם לחלישות הדעת הזו? והלא קרבנו גדול משל נשיאים, שהקריב בימים ההם קרבנות הרבה כל ימי המלואים! ואם תאמר שהיו חובה ונצטוה בהם, וחלשה דעתו על שלא הקריב נדבה כמוהם לחנכת המזבח – גם הדלקת הנרות שנחמו בה חובה ונצטוה עליה! אבל ענין ההגדה הזו, לדרוש רמז מן הפרשה על חנוכה של נרות שהיתה בבית שני על ידי אהרן ובניו, רצוני לומר חשמונאי כהן גדול ובניו. ובלשון הזה מצאתיה במגלת סתרים לרבינו נסים, שהזכיר האגדה הזו ואמר: “ראיתי במדרש, כיון שהקריבו שנים עשר שבטים ולא הקריב שבט לוי וכו’, אמר לו הקב”ה למשה דבר אל אהרן ואמרת אליו, יש חנכה אחרת שיש בה הדלקת הנרות ואני עושה בה לישראל על ידי בניך נסים ותשועה וחנכה שקרויה על שמם, והיא חנכת בני חשמונאי, ולפיכך הסמיך פרשה זו לפרשת חנכת המזבח”, עד כאן לשונו. וראיתי עוד ב”ילמדנו” (תנחומא בהעלותך ה), וכן בבמדבר רבה טו ו: “אמר לו הקב”ה למשה: לך אמור לאהרן ‘אל תתירא, לגדולה מזאת אתה מוכן, הקרבנות כל זמן שבית המקדש קיים הן נוהגין, אבל הנרות לעולם אל מול פני המנורה יאירו – וכל הברכות שנתתי לך לברך את בני אינן בטלין לעולם'”. והנה, דבר ידוע שכשאין בית המקדש קיים והקרבנות בטלין מפני חורבנו אף הנרות בטלות, אבל לא רמזו אלא לנרות חנכת חשמונאי, שהיא נוהגת אף לאחר החורבן בגלותנו. וכן ברכת כהנים הסמוכה לחנכת הנשיאים נוהגת לעולם, דרשו סמוכין לחנכת הנשיאים מלפניה ומלאחריה בכבודו של אהרן שלא נמנה עמהם. ור’ אברהם אמר (אבן עזרא על במדבר ח׳:ב׳), כי “נסמכה זאת הפרשה, להודיע כי הדבור יהיה גם בלילה, כי שם יהיה הנר דלוק ולא יכבה”. וזה איננו ככה על דעת רבותינו, שאמרו (מכילתא בא א) “והלא לא נדבר עמו אלא ביום”. ואלו ידע ר’ אברהם מה בין נבואת משה לנבואת שאר הנביאים, לא חשב כן. והוא מה שאמר הכתוב (במדבר יב ו): “במראה אליו אתודע בחלום אדבר בו לא כן עבדי משה”, שאין נבואתו בחלום, כי החלום בלילה ממש. אבל הסדור בפרשיות האלה הוא, כאשר פירשתי (בתחלת הספר), כי בא הכתוב בספר הזה להשלים תורת הקרבנות וכל המחוייב לעשות באהל מועד. והנה: אמר מתחלה (שמות כז כ): “ואתה תצוה ויקחו אליך שמן זית זך להעלות נר תמיד”, ולא הזכיר שם המנורה, והיה במשמע שידליקו במנורה בהימצאה כמו שאמר בעשייתה (שמות כה לז): “והעלה את נרותיה והאיר על עבר פניה”, אבל אם אולי תאבד או תישבר, ידליקו בלתי מנורה, ואין המנורה מעכב ההדלקה, כי המצוה להעלות נר תמיד לעולם. ואחר כן הוסיף וצוה מיד ולדורות (ויקרא כד ב): “צו את בני ישראל ויקחו אליך שמן זית זך”, ואמר “על המנורה הטהורה יערוך את הנרות”, שלא יערוך אלא במנורה הטהורה. ובכאן, כאשר השלים להזכיר הקמת המשכן, השלים עוד כל דיני הנרות, וצוה שיהיו שבעת הנרות כולן דולקות לדורות אל מול פני המנורה, כאשר הזכיר במעשה המנורה “והעלה את נרותיה והאיר על עבר פניה”, לא בלתי מנורה, ולא בלתי שיאירו כולם אל עבר פניה. ולא הזכיר בפרשה הזאת “באהל מועד”, ללמד שיהיה גם כן במקדש. אולי יחשב, כי בעבור שאין חלונות באהל מועד יצטרך לאורה הזאת, אבל במקדש, שיהיו שם (מלכים א ו ד): “חלוני שקופים”, לא יצטרך כן, לפיכך לא הזכיר בכאן “באהל מועד”.

[5]  Incidentally this Baal haTurim suggests a wonderful peshat for a puzzling point in the disagreement between Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai regarding the optimal, most-mehudar way for lighting Chanukah candles.

Beis Hillel opines to start with one candle and add nightly, based on the well known dictum of ‘Ma’ale bikdushah v’ein moridin’—in matters of holiness we always add rather than subtract over time.

Beis Shamai states to start with eight and decrease by one every night, ending with one candle on the final night. Why? “K’negged Parei haChag”—parallel to the seventy bulls sacrificed throughout Sukkos, where each day subtracts one bull from the previous day’s offering: 13->12->11->10->9->8->7. The most common understanding regarding the comparison between Chanukah lighting and the 70 bulls brought on behalf of the 70 non-Jewish nations emphasizes our hope that the dominion of those other nations should wane inversely to a rise in power and prestige of the Jews.

But where did Beis Shamai come up with a comparison between the bulls of Sukkos and the Chanukah candles in the first place? On the surface there is very little basis for comparison!

HOWEVER- the Baal haTurim’s semichus makes perfect sense of the comparison—for the whole subject of the Chanukah candles is derived from its close relationship to Sukkos in Parshas Emor! Both Beis Hillel AND Beis Shamai are darshaning the  same semichus, but are focusing on different aspects!