The Menorah: A Tribute to G-d’s Love

November 27, 2016 at 7:49 PM ,

“….When the Chashmona’im overcame and defeated them, they searched and found only one cruse of oil that bore the seal of the Kohen Gadol, but it contained enough to light for only one day. A miracle occurred with it and they lit from it for eight days….” – Talmud: Shabbat 21B

״….וכשגברה מלכות בית חשמונאי ונצחום בדקו ולא מצאו אלא פך אחד של שמן שהיה מונח בחותמו של כהן גדול ולא היה בו אלא להדליק יום אחד, נעשה בו נס והדליקו ממנו שמונה ימים….״ – מסכת שבת כב/ב

menorahKindling the menorah was one of the many daily activities performed in the Beis Hamikdash. In the Chanukah story, however, it was specifically this avodah, service – and not a more central avodah, such as the daily offering of sacrifices upon the Altar – that was “singled out” for miraculous intervention to ensure that it could be done properly. This is because, more so than any other part of the Beis Hamikdash, the menorah is synonymous with the underlying theme of the Chanukah miracles.

Through their various decrees, the Greek oppressors attempted to force the Jewish people to dissociate themselves from their identity and duties as G-d’s chosen people. After this public attack on the value of their Jewishness, the Chanukah miracles came to restore the Jewish nation’s confidence in G-d’s unique love for His people. The restoration of the service in the Beis Hamikdash was therefore brought about through an obvious miracle, and not through human efforts alone, to visibly demonstrate G-d’s delight in the Jewish people and their worship. Chanukah thus celebrates what Jews and Judaism mean to G-d.

This explains why the Chanukah story focuses on the menorah. For of the menorah in the Beis Hamikdash and its miraculous flames, our Sages say: “Does G-d require its light? …Rather it is a testimony to mankind that theShechina, the Divine Presence, rests upon the Jewish people (Talmud, Shabbos 22b).”


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—Toras Menachem, vol. 29, pp. 287-289







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