Rabbi Rami Pavolotzky
This week we are celebrating Hanukkah. Therefore, on this occasion, I would like to dedicate the Torah Thoughts to this beloved festival, instead of the regular Torah section.
As you know, during Hanukkah we remember the “miracle of the oil.” After retaking Jerusalem from the Seleucids/Greeks more than two thousand years ago, the Maccabees cleared out the Temple of Jerusalem and rededicated it. One of the main aspects of the rededication was the lighting of the Temple’s Menorah, the lamp with seven branches. However, there remained one jar of oil which had not been defiled and contained enough oil to last only one night.
It would take eight full days in order to make any new oil that could be used in the Temple. It seemed like there would have to be days from now until then, that the Jews would lose out on the opportunity to light the Temple’s Menorah for several days. Miraculously, that one jar of oil lasted eight nights.
If we consider the story from a more personal perspective, the miracle of the oil lasting for a full 8 days is a yearly reminder that although we may not always think we have what it takes, we each have much more potential to accomplish what we need to do than we think we have. Like a small jar of oil.
Everyone has something very powerful inside of them, and even if we can only see or feel it just a bit – that may be all we need in order to become great.
The oil on Hanukkah lasted eight nights, when it should have only lasted one. Our oil is the little bit of greatness inside us. Never underestimate how far it can take you. Never forget that you have that potential inside yourself.
So, next time you light the Hanukkah candles, think about the courage and perseverance of the Maccabees and how hard they had to fight for their beliefs, for their right to live as Jews. Think also about the miracle of Hanukkah and the miracle of our personal resilience and potential to overcome our challenges… even when we seem to be running out of oil!
Shabbat Shalom! Happy Hanukkah!