Chanukah and Downloading of Primordial Light The Mystical Significance of “36”
God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis1:3)
The 36 candles on menorah correspond to 36 hours when Adam and Eve were bathed in The Primordial Light of creation. Today, as we kindle our own lights, we call forth a revelation of this now hidden and intense light.
(12th century Kabbalist, R. Eliezer of Worms)
The Primordial Light of Creation is hidden in 36 candles of Chanukah.
(B’nei Yissachar, Kislev)
The mood of Winter shares with us tender gift of returning to our inner wombs, where our wisdom resides and from which our destiny will once again shine forth in Divine Timing.
Chanukah, Festival of Lights invites us to turn our senses inward to find, cultivate, and rededicate our inner sanctuary. It is a time to empty accumulated garbage, to create an open and receptive space, and to cultivate an intimate relationship with our emotions as sensory system of our soul. As we become more peaceful inside, we gather back our power, one candle at a time. The more supportive and nurturing our inner container, more Ohr HaGanuz, Primordial Light of Creation becomes available to us during this time of year.
Spiritually, eight nights of Chanukah are a cumulative and progressive process through which light of menorah grows to reveal inherent light of Creation. The total number of Chanukah lights over eight days is 36 (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8). As Rabbi Eliezer writes, these 36 lights arouse that very same Primordial Light which illuminated Adam and Eve on dawn of their creation, first 36 hours of their existence. The Talmud teaches: “36 hours Light served . . . and Adam HaRishon (Primordial Man) saw with it from one end of this world into Other”. (Yerushalmi, Brochot 8:5)
The Midrash teaches that this intense light needed to be removed from universe, hidden away for a time still to be realized. All this so duality could exist and evolution and purpose of universe could unfold.
Ever since dimming of that Primordial Light, we yearn for it, search for it and pursue it, in our prayers, studies and meditation. Yet, even in our darkest hours, we can access this memory born of 36 hours when we, humanity as a whole, were bathed in this light. "Where was this Light to be hidden?" asks Midrash. It answers, "in Torah." When we immerse ourselves in truth and wisdom of Torah, in its inner radiance, we can experience this Primordial Light of wisdom, purpose, and intent of creation.
The significance of number 36 will lead us into some further deeper understandings.
God’s Name in Hebrew is Elo-him (language of Moses) God’s Name in Arabic is Al-lah (language of Mohammed) God’s Name in Aramaic is Elahh (language of Jesus)
They all share a common three letter root in Hebrew: Alef, Lamed and Heh. The sum gematria, or numerical value of three letters is 36 (Alef – 1, Lamed – 30, Heh – 5).
Concept of light (in one form or another), appears exactly 36 times throughout entire Torah (Rokayach).
It took Moses 36 days to explain Torah to Israel (Seder Olam Rabbah 10).
Moses himself was born exactly 36 years after oppression in Egypt began.
When Moses was born, it is said that house was filled with light. It is written there, “And she saw him, that he was GOOD” (Exodus 2:2) and there (in Genesis 1:4) it is also written, “God saw light,that it was GOOD” (Talmud; Sotah 12a)
Commentary to above: “She saw him, that it (he) was good” — “it” being Ohr HaGanuz – Hidden Light of Creation, as a Presence that came into world with Moses. (Sha’arei Leshem, p. 130)
The word in Torah used to describe Hidden or Primordial Light is “tov” meaning GOOD. When it appears in Torah for first time, first letter “Tet” of “tov” (good) has a very unusual feature. The letter “tet”, like many other letters in a Torah scroll have tiny “crowns” extending from them (which kabbalists teach is a hidden language of its own). What is unusual about this letter here is that is has four “crowns” instead of usual three. According to Kabbalist, B’nei Yissachar, when four is multiplied by number nine (the value of “tet” itself), total is 36.
The Patriarch Isaac
Abraham was a righteous person whose very life embodied values of Hidden Light of creation. But when Isaac was born, he was first in history to be circumcised on eighth day. Since eight represents transcending physical, he became infused with all that "eight" represents (transcendence), raising him forever above natural world. This is why he, at such a young age warranted to see Divine Presence like his father. Contrary, to popular legend, Isaac was 37 years old when he was “sacrificed”. According to mystical tradition, Isaac was a very willing and enthusiastic participant in offering himself up as a sacrifice to G-d, and that although no slaughter took place, Isaac nevertheless left his body.
The event took place when Isaac was 37, for reason that he had already reached his spiritual climax at end of a complete 36 year life cycle. According to Midrash, although Isaac had not died physically, a part of him transcended even further beyond his earthly identity, causing him to be likened to an angel. The text says he was blind after Akeidah (binding, sacrifice). It wasn’t physical blindness he suffered from, but being “blind” to garments of this existence, especially aspect of duality (this is why he was “blind” to his own twin’s characteristics, Esau and Jacob). The energy of 36 facilitates a non-dualistic consciousness since it is a light which Primordial Man bathed in, before “Fall”.