Tuesday, December 12

Lighting Chanukah Candles - Part VI

The Pure Menorah was lit daily in the Holy Temple in a miraculous fashion in order to reveal the presence of G-d among us, the Jewish people. Likewise, the renewal of its lighting during the restoration of the services in the Holy Temple had equally been in a miraculous fashion.
G-d has chosen to reveal to us this secret with a small jar of oil, but pure, and through the Pure Menorah, and inside the Holy Temple. G-d did not reveal to us this secret through some grand and unusual phenomena, such as the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai or the splitting of the Red Sea, or any miracle that the entire world would hear and see! Why? It is not an honour for a king to appear in all his glory, every day for all possible spectators, because doing so will tarnish his stature. Every action that happens on a daily basis becomes routine and its effect dissipates. Publicity diminishes its splendour. Also the message of our survival was meant for our people and not for the nations of the world.
Therefore, the daily revealing of G-d’s presence occurred inside of the Holy Temple, with the miracle of the Pure Menorah, with a small light that reveals the great secret and with a small jar but of pure oil.
It is not usual to celebrate a birthday party for the dead! Why must we yearly celebrate the rededication of the Second Temple who is still in ruin? Why the rededication of the Second Temple is more important than the initial dedication of the First and Second Temple which is not celebrated yearly? Why the re-kindling of the Holy and Pure Menorah was chosen as the subject of the rededication of the Temple, over any of the multiple other rituals which were performed daily in the Temple? Why the yearly lighting of Chanukah Candles was ordained although the Holy and Pure Menorah was still in service in the Holy Temple for another 233 years? Why the yearly lighting of Chanukah Candles was ordained only a year after the victory of the war against the Greeks and the rededication of the Second Temple? Why do we still celebrate the rededication of our Temple who was destroyed 233 years later, at the year 3830, 1944 years ago and still lays in ruin? Why celebrating the rekindling of the Menorah that was taken into captivity and has since then disappeared? Why each person must light his own personal Chanukah Candles? To publicize the miracle, it would be more effective if huge Chanukah Candles be lit on top of a high tower from where it could be seen all over. Why lighting the Chanukah Candles in the window, and only as long as there are people in the street who may see it? Why must we allow the entire community to check on each and every one of us, if and how do we light the Chanukah Candles, a practice that do not exist in any of our other commandments?
One of many possible answers: The war of the Maccabees started mainly against Hellenized Jews who adapted the Greek culture. A year after the victory in the battlefield, our sages realised that the war against the Greek Culture, did not conclude. They predicted that in every generation there will still be Jews who would desecrate Torah laws, and prefer to assimilate into the culture of the land of their residence, while endangering Jewish survival. Therefore, our sages have commanded us, till the end of generation, that every one of us, once a year, every year must proclaim publically his loyalty and devotion to life of Purity and Sanctity, which is symbolized by personally lighting Chanukah Candles, like the lighting of the Menorah in the Holy Temple that was required to be lit in Purity and Sanctity. We must light the Chanukah Candles in the window, to allow the community, once a year, to check our devotion to Jewish life of Purity and Sanctity.

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