Rabbi Aaron Goldstein
1 April 2020
The Sages taught in a baraita: The basic mitzvah of Hanukkah is each day to have a light kindled by a person, the head of the household, for himself and his household. And the mehadrin, i.e., those who are meticulous in the performance of mitzvot, kindle a light for each and every one in the household. And the mehadrin min hamehadrin, who are even more meticulous, adjust the number of lights daily.
As Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan notes, in her comment on My Jewish Learning’s Daf Yomi commentary, “The teaching here is that those who go above and beyond in their observance of Hanukkah do not simply light one light for the family every night, but one for every member of their household. And those who really go above and beyond light as many lights as correspond to the day of the holiday as well.
In today’s parlance, the term mehadrin min hemadrin is often used to describe the standards of the most devout and traditional Jews regarding Jewish observance. But when it comes to Hanukkah, everyone today follows the most “mehadrin” practice, adjusting the lights each night. We are all the most devout!”
Whilst not disparaging the regular religious practice of Anglo-Jewry, isolation due to Covid-19, has provided an opportunity for many to access religious services and Torah learning, without needing to leave their home. I am sure that it is not only out of curiosity or boredom but also a need for comfort and connection during this time, that has lead to bumper congregations for our online services and shiurim – study sessions.
Explore what Liberal Judaism and its Congregations offer and become part of the mehadrin – if not mehadrin min hemadrin. https://www.liberaljudaism.org/resources/lj-at-home/
Follow Rabbi Aaron’s Daf Yomi journey through his blogs on the Liberal Judaism website
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