In our desire to provide you with the teaching of Messiah Yeshua in a Jewish context, we provide in-depth teachings of the weekly Torah portions throughout the year. Below are various perspectives from various teachers and staff members from Netivyah Bible Instruction ministry.

Yehuda Bachana: We Are the Menorah [2022]

Read the transcript below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana.

The Hanukkiah (Hanukkah menorah) and candles that we light and place on the windowsill are meant to remind us of God’s miracles. Thanks to those miracles, we stand here as the people of Israel in the Promised Land.

The holidays of Israel are not only a memory of the past. Yes, that memory is fundamental and important, and many lessons can be written about the significance of collective memory.

But alongside the memory, which is indeed very important, the Jewish tradition is to add a spiritual aspect to the holidays, making them still relevant to our spiritual life even today. And there is no better demonstration than Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is the commemoration of the events that took place in the year 164 BC. The miracle tells of the lighting of the temple menorah. The miracle is light.

And at Hanukkah we encounter a fertile ground for teachings with metaphors and parallels relevant to faith and light. Yeshua is the light of the world, the Torah is light, and we, the believers, are called to walk in the light and not in the darkness.

The holiday was established after the Maccabees defeated Antiochus and thereby freed Jerusalem, and purified the Temple. Antiochus had defiled the Temple in Jerusalem as much as he could, and forbade Jewish customs, including eating kosher and keeping the Sabbath, and even prohibited reading and studying the Torah.

After purifying the Temple, they discovered that there was enough oil left to light the holy menorah for only one day. And the process of creating additional oil would take a week.

But a miracle happened, and the oil that was supposed to last for only one day was enough until more oil was created and brought to the Temple eight days later. That is why we celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah for eight days.

The holiday is mentioned in the New Testament, in John chapter 10: Yeshua goes up to Jerusalem, in the fall (or in the winter, depending on the translation), for the Hanukkah holiday, where the crowds ask him, “Are you the Messiah? Tell us!” Our clear answer is, “Yes! Jesus, Yeshua, is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!”

Hanukkah is a festival of light, it is a festival of the victory of light over darkness. A lot of darkness is defeated by a little light, that’s why we light the menorah when the sun goes down.

Throughout the days of Hanukkah we light more and more candles. Each candle joins another candle, light connects to light, and together the light grows and defeats the darkness.

As believers, this image is completely clear to us: Jesus is the light, and darkness is a place of “darkness and gnashing of teeth” (as it appears in Matthew 22:13).

When the light turns on in our face, in our heart, we will make an effort to keep it lit. Because it attracts, and together we are a light that can affect our surroundings.

We have truth, we have pure light, that can affect others. What is the source of the light that is in us, as believers?

The sun and the moon were only created on the fourth day of creation, and light appears on the first day. So what is the source of light?

Isaiah prophesies in chapter 9 with these words:

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” — Isaiah 9:2

Matthew quotes this verse and associates it with Yeshua, as the beginning of Yeshua’s ministry:

“From that time Yeshua began to call out and say, ‘Return, for the kingdom of heaven is near…’” — Matthew 4:17

From now on there is light. From now on there is hope. From now on there is salvation.

The people walked in darkness; they walked in the land of shadow. Then they saw light, what is the light?

The answer is in Isaiah 9:6:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” — Isaiah 9:6

Isaiah indicates a situation in which the people of Israel walk in darkness, but this situation is not permanent, there is hope. This people will see a great light, and this light will pave their way.

The central motif of John is the light. John begins his gospel in a way that recalls the opening of the Torah, “in the beginning there was the word”.

In Genesis light was created with the word, and the focus in John 1 is the light. The light that overcomes darkness. And, similar to Genesis, the light brings order and overcomes chaos, and the darkness cannot overpower the light.

Our faith in Yeshua the Messiah turns us into a menorah. And Yeshua’s command is that we must sit on the windowsill, just like the Hanukkiah, and shine to the world that there is hope, there is a way, there is light, there is truth.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:12,16

We are the display-window of faith in God, and faith in Yeshua the Messiah. We are actually a walking advertisement, and when people see us and our lives favorably, we advertise God favorably, we illuminate faith in a good and positive light.

This is precisely what Jesus asks us to be, reflectors of the light, that the light of the Torah, of the Gospel, of faith will shine through us. That we will illuminate the way, like a lighthouse in a storm.

I will end with a quote from Binyamin Ze’ev Herzl, the founding father and visionary of the state of Israel:

“In the beginning one light is lit, and then another and another, and others. The darkness will pass away completely. From among the young, the light will break out first, and then the others will accompany them, the lovers of justice and truth, freedom and human progress, beauty. And once the candles are all lit, they will rejoice and be happy for the work that was done. You have no role more important and joyful than the role of serving as the servant of the light.” — Binyamin Ze’ev Herzl

As each individual member awakens to contribute of their best and their talents, this mutual responsibility contributes to the strength of the group, joining together for a common goal.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” — Aristotle

That is, the steadfast, great, light will be created if all the small, individual flames join together. Then, all the talents, all the abilities, all the good intentions will make a greater impact than if everyone holds the light only for himself and only with his own power.

This is the importance of walking together, as the body of Messiah, as servants of the light of life, who is Yeshua. My prayer is that we can serve Him together, in unity.

Netivyah blesses each and everyone, our families, our communities, to have a happy and bright holiday, illuminated by the light of Yeshua the Messiah. Amen and amen.

Hag Sameach! (Happy Holiday!)

Here is a short tutorial for lighting the Hannukah menorah:

Joseph Shulam: A Special Holiday Greeting [2017]

Happy holidays from Netivyah! Our founder, Joseph Shulam, has a special holiday greeting, in which he shares a Jewish perspectve on Hanukkah.


Yehuda Bachana: No One Can Take Away Your Light [2018]

Happy holidays! We say “happy Hanukkah,” but the background of this holiday is rather sad and difficult. Our enemies tried to hurt us, to destroy our identity, to break us, to desecrate our holy Temple, but they failed. So we are here to celebrate our existence, the continuity of our identity, and to declare and educate the next generation.

You Can Take Everything from a Man Except His Spirit

What does Hanukkah symbolize? What is the meaning of this holiday? Everything can be taken from a person, you can take his house, fire him from work, hit his car, and tear up his clothes. However, no one can take a person’s spirituality, his inner life; the essence of a man cannot be taken.

The Greeks broke into the Temple and desecrated everything they saw. I do not think they intended to destroy it, but rather to defile it in order to remove its spiritual aspect. They wanted the Jews to stop being Jews.

The people of Israel have been in a state of catastrophe on numerous occasions, but God always rejuvenates the nation, just like a green leaf that emerges from a severed race. The forces of the people of Israel are not limited to what you see on the surface, all of which a person can take, destroy, defile, break, and win. The secret force of the people of Israel is the God that dwells within them, the spirituality and promise of God which stands forever.

We are Called to be a Menorah for Yeshua

The light of the Menorah was the first Hanukkah miracle, today the miracle is the light that remains burning in our lives.

The menorah and Hanukkah candles that we light on the windowsill remind us of the miracles of God, and thanks to them and their merit we stand here today as the people of Israel in the Promised Land.

Our faith in Yeshua our Messiah makes us under His command and enables us to be used as His lamp so that we, similar to the menorah, can sit on the windowsill and show the world that there is hope, there is a way, there is light, and there is truth.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16 [NIV]

It is Our Duty to Properly Represent the Torah to the World

This connects us to an interesting halakhah: Rambam- Hilchot Talmud Torah Chapter 4:

“Torah should be taught only to a proper student – one whose deeds are attractive – or to a person whose behavior is unknown. However, [a potential student] who follows bad ways should be influenced to correct his behavior and trained to follow a straight path. [After he repents, his deeds] are examined and he is allowed to enter the house of study to be instructed.”

An improper student speaks of a person who does not behave well in the Land of Israel and therefore he is not able to be accepted at an institution for Torah studies. Here’s the surprise:such a person should receive an extra dose of Torah in order to educate him in good virtues, should he not?

The answer is that a Torah student, if he has no way of life, desecrates the name of God. How? Torah students represent religion for all to see. The general public appreciates the virtue of religion according to the moral of its representatives:Torah students of good character are respectful of the Torah. However, Torah scholars who are not good people evoke a negative attitude not only towards themselves, but mainly towards the Torah which they supposedly represent, and this is the body of blasphemy.

As Believers We Must Illuminate the Way for the King

Here I’d also like to discuss and point out not necessarily in a bad or critical manner, that we must be aware that we have an important responsibility. We are the showcase of faith in God and in Yeshua the Messiah. We are actually a walking advertisement, and when you see us and our lives for the better – we advertise God for good;we enlighten the faith in a positive light.

A final thought on light, in order to illuminate, a ray of light must be reflected from any given surface. In other words, we cannot illuminate an empty space at night. If we aim our flashlight at the sky, it will not succeed in lighting up our path. But a flashlight that shines on a particular surface such as a wall, will reflect the light from it and illuminate the way for us. This is precisely what Yeshua asks us to be, reflectors of light. This is in order so that the light of the Torah and of the gospel will open our way so that we can illuminate the way of the King, the straight path.

We wish all families, communities, and the people of Israel a happy and blessed holiday!