Divrei Torah
Divrei Torah from Shaya Gross z'l

[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue
sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some
of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning
of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the
neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much.] The views and opinions
expressed in this article are those solely of its author(s).

Chanukah 5778
The number thirty-six seems to play a significant role, both in the creation and
continuance of the world, as well as during this time of year.

On Chanuka we light a total of 36 candles. For the first thirty-six hours of the creation of
the world, there was an extremely powerful spiritual light that shone forth. However,
Hashem foresaw that it would be unfitting for the wicked people to benefit from, and He
therefore hid it away for the Tzadikim in the world to come.

The Seforim tell us that there are a few places where this special light is hidden in THIS
world, enabling us to tap into this extra special holiness. It is hidden in the 36 candles that
we light on Chanuka. It is hidden in the 36 tractates of Shas. And it is hidden in the 36
Tzadikim that exist in every generation.

The Seforim teach us that Yosef Hatzadik was the epitome of a hidden Tzadik; in fact, he
was the ‘head’ of all hidden Tzadikim. Hence, we see a deep connection between the
Parshiyos we lain Chanuka time concerning Yosef and the holiday of Chanuka. Yosef’s
mida is the sixth Sefira/ Mida, the Mida of Yesod, hence ‘Yesod Shebiyisod’ which
epitomizes Yosef takes place on the thirty sixth day of Sefira! Also the daf [folio] of the
Gemara in Sota which discusses the story of Yosef with the wife of Potiphar, and how
Yosef overcame the test and earned the title Yosef HATZADIK is on DAF..., you guessed
it: lamed vav [thirty six]!

I would like to suggest that although there are more than thirty-six people receiving this
email and therefore it’s not possible that we are all members of the 'Thirty-Six Tzadikim
club,' we can still tap into their strength and holiness when we perform Mitzvos in private,
and where there is no fanfare and honor.

Hence on Chanuka, which the Seforim tell us corresponds to Yosef Hatzadik, we have an
enormous amount of potential to tap into all three places where the special light is hidden:
Torah, the Chanuka candles, and doing mitzvos in private.

We can now appreciate on a deeper level the Halacha that one should learn Torah right
before lighting the Chanuka candles; as then one will be tapping into two places where the
special light was hidden!
In fact I recently learned that the word כסלו is made up of two words, ‘כס’ which means
hidden and ‘,לו’ i.e. that the very name of the month that Chanuka begins in, signifies to us
that in this month there is hidden the holiness of the ‘thirty six’s!

Specifically now, during the darkness of the winter, at the time when the Greeks tried to
spiritually contaminate us and get us sullied in sin, we have the potential to tap into this
incredible abundance of holiness. Let us all try, each according to his or her level, to
access some of this special holiness that is ‘in the air’ of Chanuka.

May we then merit soon the day when this beautiful light and holiness will shine forth once
again in its true glory and grandeur, with the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days.  

Editor: Baruch Leib Gross
Daf Yomi
Bais Medrash Shomrei Mishmeres Hakodesh