By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld
Everybody is aware of the Bais Yosef’s question on Chanukah concerning the amount of days of celebration. We light the Menorah on Chanukah as a result of the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days so that the Jews were able to make new pure oil. The Gemara in Shabbos teaches us that there was enough oil to last for one day but it lasted for eight days. The Bais Yosef’s question, based on this premise, is asking why we celebrate for eight days if the miracle was only for seven days.
Reb Elyashiv Zt”l answers that had Chazal established Chanukah for only seven days, we would have people making a seven piece Menorah and that would be similar to the Menorah in the Bais HaMikdosh. The Torah says one may not copy items from the Bais HaMikdosh; therefore, in order to avoid people making a Menorah like the Menorah in the Bais HaMikdosh, Chazal established Chanukah for eight days.
The following question was posed to Reb Elyashiv Zt”l: if that is the case, why do we make the bracha of she’osoh nissim on the first night? If the first night was only established to make the Menorah different than the Menorah of the Bais HaMikdosh then there was no miracle occurring on that night! Reb Elyashiv Zt”l responded that this question is applicable to most of the tirutzim of the Bais Yosef. We may answer that the bracha made on the first day is actually a bracha on the nes that the Jews defeated the Greeks in war.
It is interesting to note that the Maharshal had a minhag (which is quoted in Be’er Heiteiv, siman taf resh ayin gimmel, seif koton yud gimmel) to light a new Menorah on the second day of Chanukah. He also made a bracha shehecheyanu on the second night in addition to the first night. According to the way Reb Elyashiv Zt”l explained the Bais Yosef’s question this is very understandable since there are two different miracles on which we make brachos. The first day we make a bracha on the miracle of winning the war; whereas from the second day and on the miracle is for the oil lasting an additional seven days. The bracha of shehecheyanu is made for two different miracles; therefore the Maharshal would be makpid to use a new Menorah on the second day.
The Maharshal was known to be a rich man and was able to afford another Menorah. He was known to have a free loan gemach that helped people in financial straits. As a matter of fact, the Maharshal’s child’s shidduch came about as a result of the gemach. The Maharshal once received payment on a loan from a person and accidentally left it in the gemara he was using at the time. The person who paid refused to swear that he paid and ended up paying again. He became the ridicule of the town as people perceived him to be a person who dared to try to rip off the Maharshal. He ended up losing his money and his business and ultimately moved out of the town with great embarrassment. When the Maharshal opened up that gemara and found the money, he felt terrible and sent a message to the borrower in the other town. The person responded by saying that people will not believe that he was right all along. He said they would think that the Maharshal is being nice to him by saying that he found the money. The Maharshal agreed with him and proposed that since they both had children who were eligible to get married, let them get married and people will see that the Maharshal really felt that the person was right. This was how a shidduch between a Gadol and a regular Yid came to be.
Hashem has his ways of taking care of the shidduch crisis. Every shidduch is really a nes of its own and should be celebrated as such.