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rabbi's column - why not destroy all the oil?

01/18/2017 01:09:02 PM


We all know the story line. The Syrian-Greeks controlled and desecrated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem for three years. They erected an idol in front of the Altar and, daily, sacrificed a pig on the Altar. Their goal was to prevent the Jews from ever worshipping Hashem in the Temple.

When the Maccabies liberated the Temple from their control, their primary desire was to reinstate the Temple service. They rebuilt the Altar and restarted the daily service, part of which was the daily kindling of the Menorah. They entered the olive oil storage and found many containers. However, all were defiled by obviously being moved by the defiled hands of the Greeks. Only one container was clearly not touched by the Greeks and was undefiled and fit for the Menorah. Hashem made a miracle and the rest is history.

If the Greeks wanted to prevent or hinder the restarting of the service, why didn’t they destroy the oil? Why only touch and defile the oil?

The answer is that the Syrian-Greeks wanted the Jews to kindle the Menorah, to enlighten the world, with defiled oil by the Greek touch. Holy oil enlightens the world with G-dly light, spreading the awareness of G-d’s presence and eminence in the world.

In contrast, the Greeks emphasized the pre-eminence of the human physique and intellect. This was the antithesis of Torah values and lifestyle.

Chanukah celebrates the victory of traditional Jewish values over secular, humanistic values. A true cause for celebration.

Thu, February 20 2020 25 Shevat 5780