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The History of Chanukah

The Menorah Files

How to Celebrate Chanukah


Thoughts on Chanukah

Q & A

   Mikets and Chanukah

Chanukah on the 25th

Guaranteed Pure Oil

Celebrating 8 Days

Heightened Commitment

The Reasons for the Dispute

The Difference Between the Reasons

Menorah In The Courtyard

The Horn of An Ox

Festivities On The Fifth Day

The Dreidel and The Gragger

Letters From the Rebbe

Children's Corner

The Significance of Chanukah

 Heightened Commitment The Difference Between the Reasons

The Reasons for the Dispute

"According to Beit Shammai, the first night we light eight candles, and we decrease by one each night. According to Beit Hillel, the first night we light one candle, and we increase each night by one." (Shabbat 21b)

What is the basis of their dispute?

They are disputing which has greater significance, the potential or the actual.

Beit Shammai holds that the potential is more significant. The miracle of Chanukah took place over a period of eight days.

Immediately, on the first day the oil had the potential to last for eight days. Each succeeding night this potentiality was reduced; i.e. on the first night the oil miraculously was able to last for eight, and the second day it was able to last for seven days, etc. Therefore, to emphasize this aspect of the miracle, we decrease by one each night.

According to Beit Hillel, primacy is given to the actual miracle. After the first night, the Jewish people witnessed a miracle of the oil lasting one night, the second night, two nights, etc.; therefore we increase one candle because in actuality, the visible miracle increased from night to night.

 Heightened Commitment The Difference Between the Reasons

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