We Need a Hanukkah Miracle Now!

Another Hanukkah miracle may be just around the corner if only we could believe and allow God’s light to keep warming our hearts and shining through us.

| Topics: Hanukkah
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men light the candles for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood. Photo: Maor Kinsbursky Flash90

Hanukkah is perhaps the most popular holiday for the Jewish people for a very good reason that never occurs to most people.  Statistics say that more than 80% of Israeli Jews will light the Hanukkah candles this Sunday night, and most Jews around the world will join in the festive holiday celebration. But why?

Sure, Hanukkah is the longest of all Jewish holidays (8 days in Israel) with no religious restrictions. So folks exchange gifts and once a year we eat those unhealthy, oily, but tasty jelly doughnuts.

And the Festival of Lights, Hag Ha’Urim, has universal appeal. Who doesn’t need light?

What exactly is the miracle of Hanukkah you ask?

The most widely known miracle is the lighting of the Hanukkah candles recalling that small pot of oil keeping the Temple Menorah lit for eight full days even as Jerusalem had been conquered by the Greeks. That event is recorded in some of Judaism’s earliest tractates from the period of the Tannaim from around 10–220 AD.  The rabbis urged the people to promote the miracle publicly to “spread the light.” The rabbi where I live calls me each year to make sure I have the candles and menorah to put up in our window. Seeing the lighted menorah all around town in the evenings throughout the week is heartwarming and reminds us of the strength we have when we join together in faith as a community. Large menorahs are also set up in city centers and public squares across the country.

Which brings us to the most important Hanukkah miracle.

It happened at the time that there was a struggle between the faithful Maccabees and the Hellenist Jews who had been adopting Greek practices. A battle erupted when the High Priest Matityahu executed a Hellenist who had sacrificed a pig on the altar as recorded in the Book of the Maccabees:

“A Jewish man came, in the sight of all, to sacrifice on the altar at Modi’in, according to King Antiochus Epiphanes’ command. Matityahu saw this and was filled with zeal; he cast forth his rage and ran to slay him upon the altar. And also,the king’s commissioner, who was compelling the Jews to sacrifice – he killed him as well and then he pulled down the altar. He was zealous for the Torah, and he cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying: “Whoever is zealous for the Torah, and maintains the covenant – let him follow me!” (I Maccabees 2:23-27) When the Maccabees united the Jews they were able to confront and defeat the Syrian armies who had joined with the Greeks to conquer and control Israel. United, Israel was able to restore Shabbat observance, circumcision, and the ordering of the Jewish calendar which the Greeks had restricted. Pagan practices were relinquished, and the Temple could be re-dedicated (thus the need of the oil which had to be prepared).

Israel needs a miracle now!

Israel today is a divided nation. We finally have a new government, but it was elected by only the smallest of margins. Had only a mandate or two fallen to the other side we would now be facing yet another election.

Bending over backwards seeking international support is not the most urgent matter facing our nation or Netanyahu’s incoming administration. Nor is traversing the world pleading for better relations with foreign countries, as important as these matters are.

Right now, as always, the most crucial need is for our nation to search inwardly and take an account of our own souls.

If we continue to spend most of our time fighting with each other we will not be able to fend off the raging wolves attacking on every side. Unity is not easy to achieve, and for many may seem impossible or a distant dream–or that only a miracle could bring it about. Perhaps, and maybe we are just desperate enough to begin to acknowledge that miracles do happen. Another Hanukkah miracle may be just around the corner if only we could believe and allow God’s light to keep warming our hearts and shining through us. And what choice do we have as the alternative is but darkness and destruction?

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2 responses to “We Need a Hanukkah Miracle Now!”

  1. ROGER PEDERSEN says:

    Yeshua said, “a housed divided against itself will not stand.” Mark 3:25
    If Ba`al is the Lord of the house, then all unity of life based upon the morality and ethic of the Torah goes out the window and the house will collapse upon itself to the great glee of Ba`al. This is happening at a catastrophic pace in America.
    If Adonai Elohim is the Lord of the house, and the Torah is her standard, then there will be unity, as those who despise Adonai and his word will go out the window.

  2. Christopher Hummel says:

    Life isn’t something that simply happens to us. Our priorities we set today will determine our tomorrows. Our top priority should be to live a life that honors the LORD our God. Self-discipline is also needed because living purposefully is rarely easy. Keeping Christ first makes it harder for other pursuits and pleasures to distract us.
    Rather, serve one another. Being led by the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law
    (Galatians 5:14-15).

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