TWELVE PRINCES ARE COMPARED TO THE 12 MONTHS
According to the book of Bnei Yissachar (based on Sefer Yetzirah), each one of the princes is connected to one of the 12 months. We have 12 Princes, one connected to the other. Sefer Yetzirah says very subtly that every month has a special combination of the name of Hashem.
Therefore, each Prince is connected to one of the 12 months with one of the combinations. When we are reading the portion of this specific Prince on Chanukah, we have the opportunity to connect to a certain attribute that comes out of the specific combination of the name of Hashem, the one that is connected to this Prince. Now if you understand this then you know that each one of the days of Hanukkah is different from the rest. Because every day we are reading a different portion of a different prince.
So every day is a different combination.
What do we do about the fact that during Chanukah we have only eight days, not 12 days? It doesn’t fit!
The answer is that in the first seven days we have one Prince in its day but at the eighth day, we have from the 8th until the 12th. So we have five instead of one, so this is the reason we call the last day of Hanukkah Z’ot Hanukkah.
Besides the fact that we read in the Torah, Zot Channukat hamizbeach that comes after all of the twelve Prince’s there’s a pasuk Zot Hanukah hamizbeach. This is the simple understanding for why it’s called Zot Hanukkah. But what is the deeper meaning of Zot Hanukkah? The answer is that it’s four times the amount of the previous day’s light. In Kabbalah, it’s called Notzer Hesed Lelafim, and it’s a big concept with many many different connotations.
What does that mean?
The basic understanding is related to the 13 attributes of Mercy: Hashem Hashem Kel rachum vechanun Erech apayim verav chesed venakeh notzer chesed lelafim noseh avon vepesha vechataa venakeh. That’s where Notzer Hesed Lelafim comes from!
However, if you see we have only 12 tribes, 12 months and 12 combinations, not 13!
Actually, there is also a 13th!
For example, in the tribes we usually count them as 12 but when we are counting Ephraim and Menashe as 2 tribes then we get 13.
As we recall, Yaakov Avinu told Yosef: “Ephraim and Menashe will be for me like Reuven and Shimon”. This means that they will each be counted as a tribe. So each one of them has its own tribe and portion, but both of them are coming from one tribe of Yosef.
Finally, when we say that Yaakov had 12 children there should be thirteen in reality, but since Levy is a nation of priests their portion is God so it then adds to twelve only.
STUDENTS OF TORAH ARE CONSIDERED LIKE KOHANIM
Each Jewish man learning Torah is considered to be Levy, even though he’s not coming from the tribe of Levi. This is because he’s putting himself to do the work of the Leviim and Hashem is his portion, instead of being involved with the business and trying to do all kinds of things.
Regarding Hanukkah, there’s an idea brought down in Hasidic books. It says that the sealing of Rosh Hashanah doesn’t finish in Rosh Hashanah, but rather passes through Yom Kippur. The Zohar adds it continues to Hoshana Rabba and even to Simcha Torah. Yet, Hassidim add that it goes all the way through to Hanukkah.
What is the source of the Hasidim? Since the last day of Hanukkah specifically, Zot Chanukah, is the revelation of the attribute of Notzer Hesed Lelafim, the big rabbis make Zot Hanukah a big mishmar (sentinel) to sit and learn the whole night without sleeping the whole night. This is a very strong Segulah specifically for people that don’t have children. Even if they do have children, there’s also the added benefit of Health and Parnassah (livelihood) so this is an incredible opportunity.
Even if someone doesn’t know all the meditations that come with it, this is still a very powerful Segulah. Therefore, I’m inviting everyone interested to join the Tikkun of Z’ot Chanukah today 19:30 Israel Time! We can meet here in the Yeshiva and learn through the night of the Chanukah in order to B’ezrat Hashem bring many blessings for Israel.
Whoever can and would like to have his/her name said on the Tikkun for the blessings, you are enjoined to make a donation here.