Haftara of The Second Shabbat of Chanuka
Themes and Ideas in the Haftara
Yeshivat Har Etzion
This haftara series is dedicated in memory of our beloved Chaya Leah bat Efrayim Yitzchak (Mrs. Claire Reinitz), zichronah livracha, by her family.
The second Shabbat of Chanuka
Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein
The haftara read on the second Shabbat of Chanuka (I Melakhim 7:40-50), which deals with Shelomo's construction of the
On Chanuka [the Torah reading is the section dealing with] the Nesi'im [the princes of the tribes], and for the haftara we read "the lamps of Zekharya." If there are two Shabbatot, on the first one [we read] "the lamps of Zekharya," and on the second one [we read] "the lamps of Shelomo."
The selection itself of the topic of the construction of the
Second, even if we want to emphasize the connection between Chanuka and the Temple, we must inquire about the meaning of the selection of this particular haftara out of all the sections in the book of Melakhim that deal with the construction and dedication of the Temple. In this context, it is important to note that several haftarot dealing with Shelomo's Temple and its construction are read as part of the annual cycle of haftarot in connection with the parashot of the Mishkan (including our haftara which is read as the haftara of Vayakhel or Pekudei depending on community custom, in years when one of the "four special Parashot" doesn't fill in this square). Thus, it would have been possible to choose a different section from among the chapters dealing with Shelomo in Melakhim, and not necessarily this section.
First things first - let us begin with the first question. When we examine the two haftarot, we can easily identify significant differences between the two prophecies. Our haftara, which deals with the construction of the first
If we ask ourselves which of these two situations is more similar to the dedication of the
We see then that the section of "the lamps of Zekharya" reflects the situation at the time of the Hasmoneans, and that the words of the prophet serve as spiritual direction and prophetic guidance for dealing with the situation of "a day of small things." "The lamps of Shelomo," on the other hand, represent the ideal and the desirable for which we must strive. It is clear, then, why "the lamps of Zekharya" come before "the lamps of Shelomo" as the main haftara for Shabbat Chanuka, for the struggle with a vague and problematic present, and prophetic guidance and encouragement for the future, are much more important as an existential need than aspiring for an ideal. A vision of the desired reality serves as a model to aspire to, and the knowledge that such a reality once existed provides the strength and encouragement to continue, and in this lies its importance. This objective, however, is secondary in comparison to confrontation with the present, and therefore "the lamps of Shelomo" is only the second haftara.
This point also finds expression in the attitude towards the non-Jewish nations. "The lamps of Shelomo" describes an ideal situation of cooperation between
Thus we have related to the first question posed above regarding the preference given to "the lamps of Zekharya" over "the lamps of Shelomo" as the first haftara read on Chanuka. We turn now to the second question, namely, the selection of the particular section that was chosen as our haftara and preferring it to other chapters in the book of Melakhim. Here, too, we can make use of the previous distinction as a starting point to answer this question, namely, that our haftara emphasizes the perfection of Shelomo's
The two pillars, and the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the two pillars; and the two networks, to cover the two bowls of the capitals which were upon the top of the pillars; and four hundred pomegranates for the two networks, two rows of pomegranates for each network to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were upon the pillars. (I Melakhim 7:41-42)
This, however, is not the only place in these chapters that the
And the candlesticks of pure gold, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the inner sanctuary, with the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs of gold. (v. 49)
Just as in the haftara in Zekharya there is a description of the menora ("the lamps of Zekharya"), so too in the haftara in Melakhim there is a description of the menora ("the lamps of Shelomo"), and this is the reason for reading it. Our job, then, is to understand the meaning of the menora in the haftara, and the connection between it and Chanuka. To further that end, we must see how the menora is presented in the Torah and in Halakha.
The menora is mentioned in the Torah in six different contexts: 1) the command to fashion the menora in Parashat Teruma (Shemot 25:31-40); 2) at the beginning of Parashat Tetzave (Shemot 27:20-21); 3) together with the incense and the Temple service at the end of Parashat Tetzave (Shemot 30:7-8); 4) a description of its fashioning in Parashat Vayakhel (Shemot 37:17-24); 5) together with the showbread and the table at the end of Parashat Emor (Vayikra 24:1-4); and 6) at the beginning of Parashat Beha'alotekha, adjacent to the princes' offerings at the dedication of the Mishkan.
An examination of these passages indicates that it is necessary to distinguish between the fashioning of the menora (which is mentioned in Parashat Teruma and Parashat Vayakhel) and the other sources that deal with the lighting of the menora. If we further examine the passages dealing with the lighting, it seems clear that they divide into two groups, the beginning of Parashat Tetzava and the end of Parashat Emor (nos. 2 and 5), on the one hand, and the end of Tetzava and Parashat Beha'alotekha (nos. 3 and 6), on the other. This division finds expression in the exceedingly similar stylistic and substantive characteristics within each of the two groups. Let us open with the more striking example, namely, the first group. It is immediately evident that the terminology used in the two passages is almost identical. Thus, the first verse in each passage: "And you shall command the children of Israel, that they bring you pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always" in Shemot, and "Command the children of Israel, that they bring you pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always" in Vayikra, which are identical, word for word, except for the address that substitutes "command" for "and you shall command." So too the two second verses are amazingly similar. In Shemot it is stated: "In the tent of Meeting outside the veil, which is before the Testimony, Aharon and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the Lord; it shall be a statute for ever to their generations on behalf of the children of
The second group also uses similar wording, "And when Aharon lights the lamps at evening" and "Speak to Aharon… When you light the lamps," to describe the lighting of the menora in the two passages.
What is more, this division expresses not only similar style, but also common substantive characteristics. In this context, two important points stand out - emphasis on the oil and the people of
Without expanding at length on a topic that has many halakhic ramifications, it may be argued that these two groups express two different elements that are fulfilled through the menora. The first is the very lighting of the menora and maintenance of a fire in the
Does He then require its light: surely, during the entire forty years that the Israelites travelled in the wilderness they travelled only by His light! - Rather, it is a testimony to mankind that the Shekhina rests in
The emphasis is on the light, and not on the menora, and the explanation given is intended to clarify the objective of the light. This is the principle that finds expression in the second group of verses. The importance of the matter lies in the lit lamp serving as a sign of the connection between the people of
The second principle, in contrast, does not relate to the fire burning in the lamp, but rather to the object of the menora. The Acharonim have already established that, in addition to the fulfillment of lighting the lamps, the menora is also a fulfillment of the structure of the
Let us now reexamine the meaning of the menora in each of the haftarot. There is something very strange in the haftara relating to Shelomo – muliple menorot: "And the candlesticks of pure gold, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the inner sanctuary." Not just one menora, but ten menorot in the sanctuary! Moreover, Chazal already disagreed about them (Menachot 99a), and according to one opinion the additional menorot were not even lit:
Our Rabbis taught: Shelomo made ten tables, but they arranged the showbread only on that of Moshe. As it is stated: "And the table of gold, on which the showbread was" (I Melakhim 7:48). Shelomo made ten menorot, but they lit only that of Moshe. As it is stated: "And the candlestick of gold with its lamps to burn every evening" (II Divrei ha-Yamim 13:11). Rabbi Elazar ben Shamu'a said: They arranged [the showbread] on all of them. As it is said: "And the tables upon which the showbread was set" (II Divrei ha-Yamim 4:19). And they lit all of them. As it is stated: "And the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the prescribed form before the inner sanctuary of pure gold" (II Divrei ha-Yamim 4:20).
The conclusion that seems to follow is that the other menorot (and the other tables) served not to allow the fulfillment of the mitzva of lighting the lamps (or the mitzva of arranging the showbread), but rather the menorot were an integral part of the form and structure of the
The menora and the table are also part of the
What follows from this is that the primary significance of the menorot in the haftara of "the lamps of Shelomo" in the book of Melakhim is to be part of the form and structure of the
These two aspects of the menora express different principles and present two different models for the days of Chanuka. The first emphasizes the
Regarding Chanuka as well, we can point to two different focuses of the holiday. The first is the dedication of the
We see then that the haftara of Zekharya emphasizes the idea of the renewal of the covenant and the connection between
(Translated by David Strauss)
 The entire issue of the western lamp and the order of trimming the menora reflects this duality. See Rashi and Ramban, Shabbat 22b; Tamid 3:9 and 6:1; Yoma 33a; Responsa ha-Rashba, I, no. 79. This is not the forum to further expand on the matter.
 Shemot 25:22: "And the answer is by way of an analogy. For the Glory does not move, and therefore the
 Mikdash David, no. 21, 3, s.v. u-le-ha-shitot; Bet Yishai, no. 123, 1; the comments of Masa Yad in the book Keneset ha-Rishonim al Menachot, no. 82 (Menachot 28b). And so too I heard in the name of Rav Yosef B. Soloveitchik.
 In fact, there are three focuses of the holiday, for there is also the miracle of the war and the rescue of
 See Ramban, beginning of Parashat Beha'alotekha, who emphasizes this point.
 Owing to the framework in which this shiur is given, I am being concise in a place where there is room to discuss the matter at length. I have expanded on this issue, both the conceptual aspect as well as its halakhic expressions, in my article, "Ve-ha-Yamim ha-Ele Nizkarim ve-Na'asim – Pirsumei Nisa u-Berit be-Chanuka u-Purim," in