The Ignored Miracle?

Friday, 23 December, 2022 - 6:12 am

Chanukah, one of the most observed Jewish holidays – commemorates two miracles. The first, the victory of the Maccabees’ small, amateur army over the mighty Greek-Syrians, is the lesser-known of the two. The latter, the oil of the menorah lasting eight days instead of one, is relived every year when we kindle the menorah.

In effect, the rededication and kindling of the menorah in the Holy Temple would not have been possible without the military victory. Yet, why is there no overt celebration of this aspect of the Chanukah story? Isn’t the celebration of our religious freedom greater than the remarkable feat of the magical oil?

On Chanukah we were fighting for the soul of Judaism. The Greek-Syrians were happy to accept us into their society – on their terms. Had we been willing to assimilate into the Hellenistic society of the day – there would be no Chanukah story to tell.

The victory may have been military, but it was not about military might.  The armed struggle was all about light over darkness. It was about the spiritually strong versus the morally depraved.

Indeed, that is the message of the Chanukah lights.  We commemorate both miracles with the candles that call out – loud and clear – that light will always prevail over darkness. Goodness and holiness will always win out against tyranny and oppression.

What better way for G-d to acknowledge the true spiritual triumph than to shine His glory on the Menorah for eight days?

And what greater statement of rededication to our values and Torah can we make – year in and year out – than kindling the flames of the Menorah?

Indeed, one menorah. Two miracles.

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