There are countless Torah volumes dedicated to Chanukah, its deep meaning and ramifications. One question I have never seen addressed is the
following: We know that Hashem runs the world through Midah Kneged Midah, (the way one acts is the way Hashem reacts). Why, then, was the consequence of the Yidden going out to battle rewarded with the miracle of the oil?
What is the intrinsic connection between their actions and a miraculous flame?
To answer the question, we must understand the circumstances of the time.
It was a tragic period, one in which our nation had never before experienced. We were infused with foreign morals. A new set of values began to prevail in the hearts and minds of the precious Klal Yisroel. Mitzvos and Torah learning were discarded and ignored. The Torah and the very fabric that we clutched onto to guide and unify us was being torn away. There were many casualties. An entire movement of Jewish sympathizers emerged amongst the people. Many put their hope into a false doctrine as they fell into the lure of the culture of the times.
You probably assume that I am referring to the Greek Empire and to the time of Chanukah. I am not. I am referring to our culture and the state of Klal Yisroel today. “Bayamim hahem bazman hazeh” – In those days as in our time.
The inexperienced and courageous Yidden took arms. With relentless determination they pursued the enemy. They fought for Mitzvos, for the Torah, and for G-d. They fought for their families and their future generations. They were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the Jewish people. It was a time that called for Meseras Nefesh – the giving of one’s Nefesh/soul for the cause. They rose to the challenge. I am now, referring to the time of Chanukah.
What happened to us? Where are our spears? Where is our commitment?
“Ner Hashem nishmas adam” – The flame of Hashem is the soul of man. I believe there is a reason why upon return from the battlefield, the Chashmonaim were rewarded with the Chanukah miracle. Simply, the Chashmonaim were willing to give their Neshama/flame away for the eternity of the Jewish people. In turn, they were rewarded with a miraculous flame.
That is what each light of Chanukah represents: the souls of the Jewish people. Klal Yisroel was reignited and would now rise on high in its service to its Father in heaven.
Why eight flames?
Statistically it has been calculated that if every Frum Jew would reach out to just eight unafiliated Jews, we would have assimilation licked! Eight …
could the message for us on this Chanukah be any clearer?
The word for eight is Shemonah. The Mekubalim explain that it is the same letters as Nishama.
Today we are not asking for Meseras Nefesh. For generations, we have lit the Menorah with care and love. A seemingly small gesture, but one that has ignited the bitter, dark exile. Like a flame, when one reaches out and touches another, nothing is lost. It only takes a little love, a little warmth.
The Bnai Yissaschar explains that hidden in the flames of Chanukah is the light of Moshiach. Now, is it any wonder that igniting these flames will usher in the time of our redemption?
“Bayamim hahem bazman hazeh” – In those days as in our time. May we all have the fortitude to go a bit beyond our comfort zone and reach out this Chanukah. Through the wonderful Mitzvah of Kiruv, may we all experience great light in our own lives, as well as the lives of our families and all of Klal Yisroel.