Why the Menorah?

December 14, 2014 at 7:50 AM ,
…A miracle occurred and they lit from it for eight days. The following year these [days] were appointed a Festival with [the recital of] Hallel and thanksgiving. (Shabbos 21b)

נעשה בו נס והדליקו ממנו שמונה ימים לשנה אחרת קבעום ועשאום ימים טובים בהלל והודאה – שבת כא/ב

Why the Menorah?

Lighting the menorah was one of the many daily activities preformed in the Beis Hamikdash, the central avodah being the offering of sacrifices on the mizbeiach. Why was the menorah singled out, that Hashem’s miraculous intervention that gave us the holiday of Chanukah, specifically involved the Menorah and not the mizbeiach or any other part of the Beis Hamikdash?

The answer to this is that the menorah is in fact synonymous with what the purpose of the Chanukah miracle was. The Greek oppressors imposed a number of decrees to abolish mitzvos and made numerous attempts to force the Jewish people to disassociate themselves from their Judaism and their identity as Hashem’s chosen people. After the shame that Jews and Judaism had suffered, the Chanukah miracle came to restore the Jewish people’s confidence in the unique love that Hashem has for His people. The renewed avodah in the Beis Hamikdash therefore came about not only through human efforts but also through an obvious miracle, clearly showing Hashem’s delight in our service.

Therefore, from all the utensils and activites in the Beis Hamikdash, the miracle involved the menorah, regarding which Chazal say:

“Does Hashem require its light? …Rather it is a testimony to mankind that the Shechina rests upon the Jewish people.” (Shabbos 22b)

 

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