Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rav Amiel on the dispute between Shamai and Hillel over how many candles to light

Some of you liked the last idea posted from R’ Amiel from his Derashos El Ami, so let’s go for another round.

Rav Amiel echoes the approach taken by a number of meforshim who fit the machlokes between Beis Hillel and Shamai whether to increase the number of candles lit each night or decrease (Shabbos 21b) into a more general pattern that runs through their disputes throughout shas. Beis Hillel usually look b’poel at the actual, while Beis Shamai look at the koach, potential. For example, Shamai holds shtar ha’omeid l’gvos k’gavuy, a contract, such as a kesubah, is treated as money in hand because it stands to be collected. Hillel disagrees; until the money is actually in hand b’poel, the potential for it to be collected is meaningless. Here too, Shamai looks at the diminishing potential for the miracle of Chanukah to continue, while Hillel looks at the actual day to day increase in the miracle’s duration.

Rav Amiel suggests another unique approach. B”H and B”Sh may be l’shitasam of a different dispute. A person who visits the mikdash on Yom Tov brings an olas reiya and and a korban chagiga. If one has a limited amount of money to spend, B”H holds that preference is given to buying a bigger korban chagigah because it is eaten; B”Sh holds preference is given to buying a bigger korban olah because it is offered exclusively to Hashem.

The Hasmonean dynasty started its reign with great religious fervor as a result of the Chanukah rebellion, but its political and economic reach, coming off a civil war, was limited. Over the generations in which the dynasty continued that initial religious fervor waned, but the economic and political clout of the kingdom increased. Beis Hillel which preferences the chagigah, the human enjoyment of the korban meal, celebrates the increase in the kingdom’s power, even at the expense of the fervor which started the rebellion. Beis Shamai which preferences the exclusive dedication of the olah to G-d sees the zenith of the Hasmonean dynasty in its initial religious expression of zeal, but the continuation of the rein, while offering increased material prosperity and security, was a spiritual decline.

For some advice on how this machlokes Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai relates to shalom bayis and shidducim, see my wife's post here.


  1. Why not "Geshmack"? ; )

  2. Now you want to darshin the compliment?

  3. Oh, Hubs! He's so cute!

  4. Oh, Hubs! He's so cute!

  5. Anonymous7:06 PM

    I wish not concur on it. I assume nice post. Particularly the appellation attracted me to read the unscathed story.

  6. Anonymous5:06 PM

    Genial post and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you for your information.

  7. Anonymous5:31 PM

    Opulently I acquiesce in but I contemplate the brief should secure more info then it has.

  8. Anonymous3:34 AM

    Well I acquiesce in but I about the brief should have more info then it has.