Last Friday afternoon as I was taking flowers to my hosts I listened to Rabbi Kimche’s thought on Facebook for Hanukkah. Rabbi Kimche discussed the famous Maharal from his book, ‘Ner Mitzvah’.
As I wrote about on my IsraelB website, The Maharal writes that the main miracle of Hanukkah was the military victory of the Maccabim and regaining sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Temple.
The purpose of the secondary miracle of the oil was to remind us of the role that G-d played.
In fact, there was no reason in Jewish Law for this secondly miracle of the oil at all.
Why? Because we say ‘Tumah Hutra B’Tzibur’ which means for public service, you can use impure substances even in the Temple.
For example, if you only have one priest who is impure, he can work in the Temple as we say, ‘Tumah Hutrah B’Tzibur’.
Therefore we didn’t need this special pure oil and the miracle of it lasting 8 days, as they could have used impure oil as was done for the Mincha offering and other sacrifices in the Temple.
So, why do we need this second miracle of the oil lasting for 8 days and not just one?
To remind us that we need to view life wearing spiritual glasses. It’s very easy, especially as we get older and more financially secure and stable, to view our successes as solely as a result as our efforts and only when things go wrong or there is illness that we turn to G-d in prayer.
Hanukkah teaches us that even when times are good, when we are victorious and things are going well, we need to thank G-d and acknowledge that as well as our personal efforts and sweat, G-d is also involved in our fate both on an individual and national level.
Living in Israel, we can celebrate both these aspects of Hanukkah, the physical and spiritual. The challenge of living in the modern state of Israel is to be proud of all of our accomplishments but at the same time acknowledge the role that G-d has played.