Beyond All Reason – Chanuka

November 10, 2015 at 5:51 PM

“……..To make them forget your torah and violate the decrees of your will…” (v’al hanissim)

״…להשכיחם תורתך ולהעבירם מחוקי רצונך..״ – נוסח ועל הנסים

The goal of the Greek oppression of the Jewish people was, in the words of the V’al Hanissim prayer, “to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will.” The Greeks were not opposed to Torah scholarship, but they loathed that the Jews value the Torah as G-dly and not merely as academically significant. Similarly, the Greeks opposed the practice of mitzvos in simple obedience of G-d’s will and not for the  understandable benefits in their observance.


These very values that the Greeks sought to obliterate were the underpinnings of the Jewish response: the Chashmona’im staged a revolt against the Greeks that defied all rational thinking – they were the few against the many, the weak against the strong.

A Jew is bound with G-d at the very core of his soul, a bond that transcends all reason or calculation. Thus, our relationship to Torah is not predicated on an intellectual appreciation of its commands, and likewise, the Chashmona’im fought for Torah observance with no regard for the understandable risks involved.

G-d’s response too echoed this essential connection that transcends all logic. The discovery of pure oil that miraculously burned until new pure oil could be made, was unnecessary according to “Halachic reason.” For by the simple standards of Jewish law, the Menorah may be lit using oil that is ritually impure if no pure oil can be obtained (see Rambam, Temidin U’musafin 3:10.) Rather, this miraculous find, which enabled the rededication of the Beis Hamikdash in the most ideal manner, demonstrated G-d’s fondness of the Jewish people and their worship – a bond of love that transcends all reason and logic.

—Likkutei Sichos, vol. 3, p. 815



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