Since Hanukah is celebrated for eight days, there is always one Shabbat when Jews light both Shabbat and Hanukah candles.
Two thousand years ago, in the Land of Israel, a very important discussion took place within a Jewish family, between the lighting of the eight Hanukah candles and the Shabbat candles.
Jesus and his four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judah (Matthew 13:55-6) had just finished singing the Hanukah blessings, and lighting the Hanukah Menorah, when Jesus asked his parents Joseph and Mary an important question.
“Judah Maccabee is the hero of Hanukah, Queen Esther is the hero of Purim, and Moses is the hero of Passover, but who is the hero who will free the Jewish People from the rule of the Roman Empire?”
Mary, the mother of Jesus, who with Jesus’ sisters, was just about to chant the Shabbat blessing, smiled and said, We do not know because he or she has not yet appeared. What we do know is that God always inspires someone, when the times right, to help the Jewish People to meet the challenges that face them. I am sure that the Jewish People will still be worshipping the one and only God of the world, long after the Roman Empire has disappeared.”
“But the Romans rule over North Africa, Europe and the Middle East,” said Jesus, “how can we outlast them?
His father Joseph answered Jesus: “The prophet Zachariah once told a great Jewish leader: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubavel: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD.” (Zachariah 4:6)
The Jewish People is a small nation who have been conquered many times by much larger and more powerful nations; yet we have always outlived their empires, because we have always been faithful to the covenant God made with us at Mount Sinai in the days of Prophet Moses.”
James, the oldest brother of Jesus, asked why it has taken so long for God’s appointed leader (the Messiah) to come and lead the world into the Messianic Age; when all the nations of the world will live in peace.
Mary said that we do not know when that will happen; but as faithful Jews we believe with with all our hearts that the vision of the prophets of Israel that humans will be able to live together in peace and with justice for all, will someday come true.
Mary then added: “I pray that when you and your brothers and sisters grow up, you and your descendants will help the Jewish People inspire all the other nations on earth, to establish a Messianic Age of justice and peace throughout the world.”
And Joseph said, “I also pray that you all will all do your part to fulfill the vision of prophet Micah: Someday…Many nations will come (to Jerusalem) and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ Torah will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. God will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughs and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig-tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. (Micah: 4:2-5)
Jesus and his brother James (Galatians 1:19) never forgot what their parents had taught them. Both James and his younger brother Jesus lived their entire lives trying to help the Jewish People spread the teachings of the Torah beyond the Land of Israel into their neighboring countries; so that we can realize the 2,700 year old vision of Prophet Isaiah:
“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will join a three-party alliance with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing upon the heart. The LORD of Hosts will bless them saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”…(Isaiah 19:23-5)