Page 2 of 2

Day One of Chanukah

B”H

25 Kislev 5780

December 23, 2019

by Tzvi Schnee

Last night, the eight-candled menorah was lit; two candles, the shamash (servant candle), and the first candle symbolic of the first day of the eight-day miracle. It is as if the light of the seven-candled Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash (Temple), over two thousand years ago, when the second Temple was redeadicated, still burns all over the world in the homes of millions of Jewish people for eight days.

May the inner spiritual light of Chanukah also burn in our heart of hearts, lighting up the way within the darkness of our lives. When the future looked bleak, we triumphed over the enemy. May the same be true today, especially, in regard to the challenges in our lives.

erev Chanukah (1st night)

B”H

Historically, Chanukah commemorates the victory of the Macabbees, a small group of pious Jews, who defeated the invading Syrian army. Yet, the Sages deliberately emphasized the miracle of the oil, instead of the military might of the Macabbees. Apropos of reframing the emphasis of the holiday, the Sages brought forth this pasuk (verse) as a reminder of the help the Jewish people received from G-d, when defending themselves against an army much greater than them: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the L-RD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6, JPS 1917 Tanach).

The miracle of the oil, has to do with the pure olive oil that was used in the Temple to light the seven-candled menorah that rested in the sanctuary. After cleaning up the Temple, that had been ransacked by the Syrian army, only one cruze of this pure oil was found. Regular olive oil could not be used for such a holy purpose as lighting this menorah inside of the sanctuary. Because the cruze of oil was only enough for one day, there would not have been enough time to prepare more oil, to keep the menorah burning on successive days. Yet, a miracle occurred: the single cruze of oil lasted for eight days. That is the reason we light candles for eight days on Chanukah.