Chanukah: An Eternal Flame

Question

What is the message of Chanukah for our contemporary society?

, 1 week

Answers

  1. There are two main messages. One: we have always survived and will always survive as a Jewish Nation despite the odds. Two: we should not look only at our numbers and “might” but also at the quality of our dedication to our tradition. Let me explain.

    After thousands of years of countless attempts to assimilate us into our host cultures, whether through force or persuasion, we are still here. But it is not mere physical survival that we celebrate. After all, the genes of other ancient nations have also physically survived. The miracle of Jewish survival is that we have survived with our spiritual heritage intact. When we light the Chanukah candles today we are extensions of the Maccabees, lighting the Menorah in the rededicated Second Temple. In effect, we are continuing the lighting of the Menorah by the Priests in the First and Second Temples. Ultimately, we are even continuing the lighting of the first Menorah in the Sinai Tabernacle by Aaron the High Priest, brother of Moses.

    The lights of Chanukah are also a potent reminder that physical might and numbers do not necessarily prevail. As the prophet Zechariah stated, “Not by might, not by power, but by My spirit, said the Lord of Hosts.” The miracle of Chanukah was the victory in which God delivered “…the powerful into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the evil into the hands of the righteous and the violent into the hands of those who are devoted to the Torah”.

    I hope this answer is clear and helpful and we wish you a Happy Chanukah !

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team