And let’s ponder how the Channukah and Simchat Torah Wars compare
Into every prayer on Channukah, we insert ‘Al haNeeseem.
Here is my English translation of the Ashkenazic version:
[We thank You] for the miracles and for the liberation and for the strengths and for the salvations and for the battles that You performed for our ancestors in their days as well as today/in their days at this date.
In the time of the Chasmonean high priest Mattathias ben Jochanan and his sons, when the evil Greek kingdom rose up against Israel, Your People, to make them forget Your Torah and violate some of Your favorite Laws.
Then You, Yourself, in Your great mercy, stood by them in their time of need, fought what they needed to fight, convicted what they needed to convict, as well as avenged what they needed to avenge;
You delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, and the many into the hands of the few, and the impure Jews into the hands of the pure, and the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the willful sinners (not any ignorant Jews) into the hands of those who labor at studying Your Torah.
And first of all, for Yourself, You Yourself realized a great and holy Name in this world that is certainly Yours, but also realized for Israel, Your People, a great salvation and liberation, just like You do today/as clear to us as if You did this today/around this very date.
And after this, Your true sons approached Your House’s Holy of Holies, and then cleansed Your Palace, and then purified Your Temple, and then kindled the known lights in Your Sanctuary’s Courtyards, and then fixed these eight days of Channukah to thank and exalt Your great Name.
How Does and Doesn’t This Relate to Our Present War?
While all the misery and heroism are definitely man-made, it’s hard not to see G^d’s Hand behand it all. Which makes it easier to thank for the miracles, liberation, strengths, salvations, and that He is performing today.
We don’t have one leader who stands up against the enemy. Rather, our People as a whole rose up. In the Hellenistic occupation, it was often Hellenistic against Mosaic Jews but now not so much. Chamas c.s. also, like the Nazis, don’t want to destroy just our heritage but exterminate us.
He, himself, in His great mercy, is standing by us in our time of need. We did have a lot of luck at and after Simchat Torah (it could have been even worse), but we can’t say He won the battle for us; but definitely, with us.
We do see the strong on a world scale be delivered into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, and the wicked into the hands of the righteous, but not one category of Jews into the hands of others because we have an unheard-of measure of Jewish unity now.
Those who see Him already, see Him now as greater and holier, and our great salvation and liberation as coming closer, again today.
We long for the building of the Third Temple. But since the Torah says that G^d built the Temple in our midst/within us, let us approach that, cleanse and purify our hearts, and kindle the lights in our eyes on these eight days of Channukah to thank and exalt His great Name, so we may see, with the coming of the Redeemer, the return of the Temple, soon and in our days.
Let us hope, this year, Chabad, in fact every Diaspora Jew, is wise enough to agree not to light public channukias. As Rabbi Yisrael Salanter said: The first Commandment in the Torah is “Don’t be a fool!” Remember that Channakah, like the Eve of Jewish Passover, is celebrated at the home.