Chassidic Insights – Hints for Chanukah in the Torah

Featured Image

by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky

What is the connection between the word “nechoshet” — “copper” — the final word of Parshat Terumah, with the command in the beginning of Parshat Tetzaveh to prepare pure olive oil for illumination?

King Nevuchadnetzar of Babylon had a very frightening dream which agitated him greatly. Afterwards, he forgot the details and thus did not know the dream’s interpretation until Daniel told him that he had dreamt of an image whose head was of fine gold, with its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of copper, and its legs of iron — and then all the parts crumbled together.

Daniel then interpreted all this as a reference to the four Monarchies who subjugated the Jewish people. The gold represented Nevuchadnetzar and his kingdom because of their tremendous power. The Persians and Medes were the silver. The copper kingdom was the Greek empire of Alexander the Great and his successors. (This includes Antiochus who was Macedonian and a descendant of Alexander the Macedonian.) Finally, the Roman Empire dominated by Edom and Ishmael are compared to the iron. Ultimately, they will all crumble under the kingdom of Hashem, which will be ruled by Mashiach (Daniel 2:31-45).

The last word of Parshat Terumah, “nechoshet” — “copper” — would be a reference to the Syrian-Greek Empire. The Torah follows this up with the statement “Now you shall command the Children of Israel that they
shall take for you pure olive oil to kindle the lamp continually” (27:20).

The Torah is hinting that in the days of the Greek empire (nechoshet — copper) there will be a special need for pure olive oil to kindle the Menorah. (בני יששכר)

Incidentally, the word “nechoshet” (נחשת (is also an acronym for “Neir Chanukah sham tadliku” (תדליקו שם חנוכה נר) — “Chanukah candle there you will kindle.” The word “nechoshet” (נחשת) is also an acronym for “neir
Kindle) — “נר חנוכה שמאל תדליק) “tadlik semol Chanukah the Chanukah light on the left.”

Finally, “nechoshet” (נחשת (is an acronym for “Neir Chanukah shamas tadlik” (תדליק שמש חנוכה נר” — (For the candle of Chanukah light a shamash.”

This is followed with “And you shall command the Children of Israel that they take pure olive oil” to indicate that olive oil is most preferable for the kindling of the Chanukah Menorah, which is placed on the left side of the
doorway, with a Shamash above. (מטה משה, רוקח, הגהות מרדכי החדש)

The content in this page is produced by, and is copyrighted by the author and/or If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you do not revise any part of it, and you include this note, credit the author, and link to www.chabad. org. If you wish to republish this article in a periodical, book, or website, please email [email protected]