Today is the first day of Kislev and the second day of this year’s Rosh Chodesh Kislev. The Holiday of Hanukkah takes place at the end of the month, when the moon is fading from the sky and its light has gotten dimmer.
On the eight days of Chanukah, not only do we light the chanukiyah, Chanukah menorah, but we add a short prayer to all of our prayers which is called “Al Hanissim,” “For the Miracles.”
And [we thank You] for the miracles, for the redemption, for the mighty deeds, for the saving acts, and for the wonders which You have wrought for our ancestors in those days, at this time.
In the days of Matityahu, the son of Yochanan the High Priest, the Hasmonean and his sons, when the wicked Hellenic government rose up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will. But You, in Your abounding mercies, stood by them in the time of their distress. You waged their battles, defended their rights, and avenged the wrong done to them. You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. You made a great and holy name for Yourself in Your world, and effected a great deliverance and redemption for Your people Israel to this very day. Then Your children entered the shrine of Your House, cleansed Your Temple, purified Your Sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courtyards, and instituted these eight days of Chanukah to give thanks and praise to Your great Name.
I consider this the perfect summary of the Chanukah story and also a lesson for today. It’s an “against all odds” type of story. It’s the type of story that repeats itself in Jewish Biblical history and until this very day.
Our redemption, our victory depends on our reliance on and obedience to G-d and not on foreign nations or leaders. Just like the Chanukiyah won’t light itself, we must take on the responsibility and work hard to live safely and securely.
I’ve written many times that I believe that the key is to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Land of Israel, starting with what Israel holds today, from the Temple Mount, to the Golan, the Jordan Valley, Judea, Samaria until the border with Egypt.
“We have the power to demand peace by refusing to negotiate with our enemies. There won’t be peace until they come to us begging. The more we beg the further we are from peace.”
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