By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
Holidays are not vacations, even though that’s included as well. Holy days, are special segments of time imbued with exceptional spiritual characteristics. These unique days are opportunities to strengthen ourselves in extraordinary ways.
Chanukah has many dimensions to it. There is off course the celebration of the lights. A small jug of pure olive oil to last for one day, preserved with the seal of the high priest, was found for the lighting of the menorah. When lit it lasted for eight days miraculously, enough time to procure more pure oil from the hills.
The Greeks who at that time entered the land of Israel and the holy Temple, left lots of oil in the Temple for the Jews to light their Menorah. The problem was that it was touched by impure hands. The Greeks/ Hellenists were saying; we don’t care that you observe your traditions but don’t include practices that can’t be explained rationally. If it can’t be explained scientifically it is backward and unacceptable.
Purity and impurity is observed only because G-d commanded us to do so in his book. When we observe rituals that make no sense to us in a relationship, and we do them only because it pleases the other person, this truly displays our commitment and dedication to the other person.
When a person in a relationship insists that they must always understand what they do for the other person, it must make sense to me, we are in truth serving ourselves. We are using the other person for a relationship with our self. Only when we do something for the sole purpose of doing it for them, because that’s what they asked, then we have connected and tied a relationship with the other person, as they are.
The Jewish people at that time remained unwavering in doing those commandments that could only be explained as doing them, for G-ds sake, even though the mighty Greeks had put out strict decrees against such observances. This is the reason why G-d in his full glory responded in such a super miraculous way. The paragraph of thanks states, “you delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous etc.”
There is a rule in mysticism that states, ‘The greater the quantity the smaller the quality.” The more materialistic, the less it contains spiritual and G-dly qualities.
On Chanukah the miraculous prevailed and triumphed. Spirituality and G-dliness succeeded. Sure there was a big army and a strong people. There where the people who did things only that made sense. Then there was a small group of people, the Maccabees, not very strong physically but with faith in doing pure acts for G-d. The Maccabees motto was – “who is like you (G-d) amongst the powerful”.
In the end, it was the people who understood the limitations of their own logic and did not become overwhelmed by the mighty and the strong, because they depended and relied on their faith, they won the day.
Chanukah reminds us, that light, the true light, even if only the size of a small flame, will always prevail to chase away the empty and hollow darkness.
To read more articles from Rabbi Ezagui visit him at http://koshercaffeine.blogspot.com