The full text of the Daily Shiur that our Rebbe Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a gave over on Tuesday, the night of 13 Kislev, after Maariv:
So there were three wars, with Apollonius, Saylon, and Lysias – this is the initial letters of “PeSeL”: P – Apollonius, S – Saylon, and after this was Lysias. Then this was in Beit Tzur from the south [of Beit Lehem]. Beit Tzur is from the time of Yehoshua bin Nun – from the south of Beit Lehem. Today this is only ruins, the ruins of Beit Tzur. And then they ascended to Jerusalem; conquered Jerusalem – this was on 25 [Kislev]. They arrived on 25, and it was permissible to light the Menorah, but they only wanted the Mehadrin min HaMehadrin [the highest level of kashrut]. The entire matter of Chanukah, that then we just dance and rejoice all of Chanukah. This is eight days of dancing. They broke out into song and joy; this is just rejoicing, just dancing. They went to Jerusalem with songs; from Beit Tzur they went just with singing and dancing, and in this way, they entered Jerusalem with singing and dancing, and with no war. Since a person goes with dancing, we don’t need any war. It’s written, “and at the time they began with rejoicing” — King Yehoshafat – chapter 20 in II Chronicles . They began to sing, then already it’s finished. The war is already over, that they began to dance and sing, and make dancing.
“Give thanks to Hashem” (ibid. 21), [but in the exodus from Egypt] they didn’t say “for His kindness is forever,” because it’s forbidden that a gentile should die. Whoever kills a gentile – oy vavoy to him! Because all the Arabs are sweet, made of sugar. Then it’s forbidden that any gentile should die. Since gentiles died at the splitting of the Red Sea, then we don’t say Hallel, because why didn’t you get them to do teshuva [repentance]. There was Amram. If Amram hadn’t divorced Yocheved, then all the people would have done teshuva, even the Egyptians! Because Amram lost the faith. Since he lost the faith, then… What, you’re getting divorced? What’s happening, let the angels come. Then the angels came, because “the foxes have seized us, the little foxes that ruin the vineyard” (Shir HaShirim 2:15). They put children the age of four, five next to the doors. When the woman in labor gave a scream – oy – immediately the commando arrived, the police unit arrived, the Zionist police arrived and took the children and threw them in to the river. However, whoever prayed, then the angels broke the windows, the angels entered from the windows and snatched the baby that was born, and by the time they [the Egyptians] broke down the door and managed to enter, the babies had already been snatched by the angels, and they brought them over – “He would suckle him with honey from a stone, and oil from a flinty rock” (Devarim 32:13). Also honey, there were lakes of honey, lakes of oil, lakes of milk. The babies until the age of eighteen were in lakes of honey, of milk…and of all the things.
It’s written: until when is a person called a child? Until the age of eighty he’s called a child, until the age of eighty. Rabbi Yochanan says that until the age of eighty, they are called children. Because it’s written that the children told him [King Rechavam] “scorpions.” Bring them sacks of scorpions. Then what sort of nut would pick a person who says “sacks of scorpions”? Not even in the Fiji islands, where they are all primitives, plow the soil with fingers. “Scorpions” – no one wants scorpions. He says specifically “scorpions” – only scorpions will help you. On this, the Third Temple will be built – the astrological sign of Akrav (Scorpio, e.g. Marcheshvan]. Because the [letter] “kof” is through going to the field, cut the letter of the kof. Through the field, that the field is from the kof, is made [the letter] “heh” – they cut its leg. And from the reish from “el acher [another god]” is made “echad [one].” All the avodah of a person is echad!
Chanukah is one. There we see that Hashem is one! There’s nothing outside of Hashem – this we only see in Chanukah. Because a thousand elephants arrived and everyone fled. Out of 3,000 soldiers, only 800 remained. And Yehudah said – then they ascended to Shmuel HaNavi and began to scream with all their strength. Then the elephants trampled all of them [the Greeks], killed all of them. Not one remained!
After this, he came, Talmay (the eighth) to take all the Temple vessels, and he managed to enter. This is at the beginning; we were under the Egyptians. After that under the Syrians – the Greeks, the intention is the Syrians. And then he took the Temple vessels. Then a horseman came down, all the people screamed, screamed such screams, that a horseman came down from heaven, and cast down the king. And the king fell on the ground, broke his bones. Then he said, “Now I’m going to take vengeance on the Jews.” There were 1,200,000 Jews in Egypt. He returned to Egypt, took all the Jews to the stadium. There was Winter Stadium there. He brought in all the Jews, 1,200,000 Jews in the stadium. He brought 1,000 elephants, that the elephants would trample them. They opened all the gates, twelve gates. 1,000 elephants entered through twelve gates. Instead of trampling the Jews, they ascended the stadium. They went up onto the seats, onto the stairs, trampled everyone – innocent people, poor things, unfortunate things.
Because the 400 officers of Esav came after this another time in reincarnation. When King David fought Amalek in Tziklag, because the entire service – this was the first Chanukah – was in Tziklag, that then they lit the Chanukah lights. There was lightning – it’s written – that over a course of 36 hours, the lightning shined – there were the lights of Chanukah. On Chanukah, the lighting shined [that the lightning shined for 36 hours corresponding to the 36 lights of Chanukah.
Chanukah is the holiday of light, even though that then the day is the shortest. And Adam HaRishon made Chanukah twice, also eight days at the beginning like Beit Shamai, that it goes from eight to one [lights, in descending order]. And after this, eight days according to Beit Hillel, that this goes from one to eight [lights, in ascending order]. Therefore, one needs to make Chanukah twice, both according to Beth Shamai and according to Beit Hillel. And this Yehudah Maccabee did – made Chanukah twice. So the Ramban says about parashat Vayishlach…that he sent angels to the Land of Edom, that this was the mistake of Yaakov, that he sent angels. He didn’t need to pay attention to him. So he sent to Rome [Edom]; then he immediately fell. The moment that he sent to Rome, to make a pact with Rome – there was a pact written in all the books…that they would come to help – we would help them. We helped them conquer Egypt.
So Nikanor came with 1,000 elephants. He came with 1,000 elephants to conquer Jerusalem, and everyone was terrified of Nikanor. They knew that Nikanor would conquer Jerusalem, that we were all lost. That they already entered Jerusalem, but Nikanor came from 100,000 soldiers. Then Yehudit said, “I’m not afraid.” Everyone was already afraid, everyone had given up, everyone said we need to surrender, and Yehudit said we won’t surrender. They called her Yehudit, she had courage. She said, “I’m not afraid, I’ll scream to Hashem.” Then she said to the guards, “Let me enter.” Then she said to Nikanor, “I want to be your wife. You’re the most important man in the world. You’re the leader of the army. See, you already are going to conquer Jerusalem. Another day, you’ll conquer Jerusalem; another hour, you’ll conquer it. I truly want to marry you. Let’s make a wedding canopy. Let’s make a wedding. Which events hall? Keter Rimon. It doesn’t matter. In Beitar we’ll make a wedding.” In Beitar there were – it’s written – 40,000,000, 4 billion people were in Beitar. So where will she make a wedding now? But she said to him, “We have a custom. I am Jewish. You know that I am Jewish. So we have a custom to go to the spring. Go to the spring – the Megiddo spring. Go to the Megiddo spring and there immerse.” The Megiddo spring – today there isn’t water there. Perhaps something remains there – a drop, a creek. But then there was still water. She would immerse in the spring, so that they wouldn’t check her. Then they brought her lots of blintzes, lots of cheese. Because on Chanukah, we need to eat lots of cheese. The more cheese that we eat, then the more we receive the light of Chanukah… And she brought him a pitcher of milk, and he drank the entire pitcher, and now he fell asleep.
Like it’s written about Sisra: “He requested water” (Shoftim 5:25) – “requested [Sha’al] is the numerical value of “Sisra.” “Sha’al is exactly [three-hundred] and thirty-one. This is the numerical value of Sisra. Because Sisra was water. He wasn’t a person at all; he was only water. “He requested water” – because Sisra was water. And only Yael knew where was the soul of Rabbi Akiva. Yael knew how to extract the soul of Rabbi Akiva, because every evildoer has the soul of a tzaddik in ibur [spiritual “impregnation”] in him. Like Og, the King of the Bashan – BaShaN is Shimon Ben Netanel – he was a student of Rabbi Yochanan [ben Zakkai]. After this, travel to Tiveria still today, to prostrate on the grave of Rabbi Yochanan and the Shlah HaKadosh. Everyone together – the Shlah, the Rambam — everyone together. Because when the Rambam passed away, they didn’t know where to bury him. He passed away in Egypt – how did he make it to Tiveria? He said put me on a camel – the camel will walk alone. They put him on a camel; the camel walked alone.
Therefore, women are obligated in the lighting of the Chanukah candle, because the entire miracle was worked specifically through a woman. Because the woman is always wiser than the man. “He built the rib” (Bereishit 2:22) – Hashem gave the woman greater wisdom. So she knew how to subdue Nikanor. She knew how to save Jerusalem. Therefore, if a woman lights the Chanukah candles, the man already cannot light. It [would be] a blessing in vain. He needs to light before her. If he is found in Uman, then he says to her, “I will light at 4:00, you at 4:05,’ because this comes out at the same hour [perhaps the intent is the same time zone?]. Then if he lights at 4:00, she lights at 4:05. But if she lights at 4:00, he has already missed out. Or that he says, “I don’t want to be exempted from my obligation [with her lighting].” So always if the woman lights the candles, she needs to know if she already exempted her husband. Because the woman is more important than her husband, she exempts him from his obligation. Because the whole Chanukah light, and also the miracle of Purim – which is Queen Esther, who said, “If I am lost, I am lost” (Esther 4:16). A person needs to have a wife like Queen Esther. “She was a daughter to him” (ibid 2:7) – when a person marries for Heaven’s sake, then it will be “She was a daughter to him.” What is “daughter” – she was his cousin, not his daughter? But he married for Heaven’s sake. Then when a person marries for Heaven’s sake, then the wife guides him. She teaches him. Therefore, they say “Rabanit” – Rav Banit [you built a lot] – that the wife builds everything. She builds the home. Therefore, “The wise among women, each builds her house” (Mishlei 14:1) – this is [the wife of] On ben Pelet, who built the home. When the wife sees that her husband disputes the tzaddik, she needs to buy for him a bottle of wine – this is everything. This is always – the woman sees that she has a husband who speaks against the tzaddik, buy him a bottle of wine, a bottle of champagne, or a bottle of milk. Then the complete redemption will come, speedily in our days, Amen!