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Chanukah commemorates the victory of the small group of Jewish fighters, the Maccabees, against the Greeks who defiled the Beit Hamikdash. After winning, the Jews then entered the Beit Hamikdash to kindle the menorah and found miraculously one flask of pure oil with the seal of the Cohen gadol still on it.
But how does this apply to us today? Chanukah celebrates the victory of light over darkness; purity over impurity. It is connected to the word chinuch, education. When we light our souls with pure education, not tainted by secular ideas or worldly views, then we produce pure light and our children (and ourselves) grow spiritually with pure faith and with true inner happiness, free from conflict.
It is a time to fight against and win against all the secular influence of society: all the lies perpetrated by the media and the secular world. We need to light up our inner souls and the darkness and impurity will automatically be nullified.
The Greeks tried to destroy the Jewish connection to Torah and mitzvot which is based on higher than intellect. They did not mind if Jews studied Torah as an interesting study…but they minded if Jews believed that Torah is G-d given and is higher than human reason. They tried to forbid mitzvot that had no rational basis to them. So nowadays, we also need to fight back against the apathy of society: the secular ideas that try to tear us away from our Torah.
I would venture to say that one of the biggest impurities we need to fight against today is the media and the movies and videos that are so prevalent. People spend hours watching videos that fuel the power of imagination in an unhealthy way. People get so involved in these videos: there are even groups that gather to discuss the movies, to try to guess the endings and to talk about the characters as if they are real people! Why? This is the absurdity of our present day society. We need to fight against that with the might of the Maccabees and chase away the darkness. We need to understand that we have to rectify our imaginations. So much time is wasted and so many people do not interact properly with their families because of spending so much time on internet.
But there is more to Chanukah:
On Rosh Hashanah, a new light descends to the world: a light that never came down before. Every Rosh Hashanah we receive a new and brighter spiritual light. But when do we actually have a revelation of that light? On Chanukah. The light is hidden within the Chanukah menorah. The lights of Chanukah reveal that light to us.
Also hidden within the Chanukah lights is the ohr genuz (the light that the Almighty created on the first day of creation and then hid away for the future when Moshiach comes).
The Chanukah menorah has that light within it as well. And it also has the light of Moshiach.
It is connected to the redemption.
And so may this Chanukah bring victory for us in all matters. May it bring redemption and the light of Moshiach to the world. A happy Chanukah to all!