On Chanukah we start with lighting one candle on the first day. Each day we increase the number of candles lit. On the last – eighth day, we light eight candles.
A story is told about Rabbi Yehonatan Aybeshitz.
When he was a little boy, he was punished for his mischief behavior and the teacher told him that he would escape the punishment only after calculating the total number of candles lit throughout the Chanukah holiday.The teacher thought it would really take a long time for Yehonatan to make the calculation.
But little Yehonatan came immediately back with a brilliant answer:
(Before you read the answer – try to calculate it on your own)Hint: When calculating, please take into account the candle of “Shamash” which is also lit every day…
Little Yehonatan said:
The Bible tells us exactly: Psalms Chapter 124, 7
It says: נַפְשֵׁנוּ– כְּצִפּוֹר נִמְלְטָה, מִפַּח יוֹקְשִׁים :
הַפַּח נִשְׁבָּר, וַאֲנַחְנוּ נִמְלָטְנוּ .Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
What Yehonatan meant is this:
In Hebrew the word פח has several meanings:
- jar (of oil)
It has the numerical value of 88.
When it’s broken (as in the above verse) into two halves then we get a half of 88 = 44. This is indeed the total number of the candles lit during Chanukah.
And Yehonatan ESCAPED……