The Chasam Sofer (Toras Moshe Vayikra drush 7 Adar) writes that every year on Asara B’Teves there is a Yom Hadin deciding whether there will be a churban that year. As the Yerushalmi says, each dor that the Beis HaMikdash is not rebuilt in it is as if they destroyed it. Understandably, Hashem gives us a period of preparation before this Yom Hadin. This is Chanukah.
How is Chanukah the “Elul” for the Yom Hadin of whether the Beis HaMikdash will be rebuilt or destroyed again this coming year? In order to illustrate this we must first analyze what are the necessary preparations we need to be zocheh to the building of the Beis HaMikdash.
The Torah says “And you shall seek out the Shechinah and come there” (Devarim 14:4). The Ramban there says that if one is distant from the Mikdash there is a mitzvah for him to search for the Mikdash. Included in this mitzvah is to inspire others to seek the Mikdash, and ascend to Yerushalayim. The Ramban also cites a pasuk in Yeshaya (2:3) Lechu v’na’aleh el har Hashem, el beis Elokei Yaakov, which also stresses the importance of searching for the Beis HaMikdash. The Radak in Yeshaya explains that this pasuk is referring to a time when Klal Yisrael will be returning from galus Bavel. The Yidden were giving each other inspiration to go up to the makom HaMikdash to build the Beis HaMikdash and becoming close to Hashem.
The Gemara in Sukkah 41a questions how Rabi Yochanan ben Zakai knew that he was to enact certain takanos zecher l’mikdash. The Gemara answers that the pasuk says “Tzion hei v’ain doresh lah. The Navi had complaints on Klal Yisrael for not seeking Tzion. The Gemara concludes that Tzion requires drisha – seeking. Even in galus we must be doresh Tzion and inspire each other to seek it.
The Ramban in Parshas Korach (16:21) writes that the reason there was an anger against Klal Yisrael at one point in Dovid HaMelech’s reign (Shmuel Beis 24:1) was because they prolonged the building of the Beis HaMikdash. In other words no one was having this drisha. Until Dovid HaMelech said, “I am sitting in a grand palace, and the Aron has no place.” Dovid HaMelech had the drisha and as a result the Beis HaMikdash was built. Says the Ramban, “If Klal Yisrael would have wanted and been nesorrer for the Beis HaMikdash earlier, it would have been built earlier by Klal Yisrael, not by Dovid and Shlomo, and there would not have been anger against them and they would not have suffered those tzaros.”
We see from this that the preparation for the building the Beis HaMikdash is to develop a drisha for it. If we will become inspired and are doresh the makom HaShchina, we will be zocheh to build the Beis HaMikdash.
Chanukah serves this purpose. Chanukah can inspire us to be dorash the Mikdash. It demonstrates to us how dear our avodah is to Hashem. The Beis Halevi asks why it was necessary to perform the neis of the oil. After all, tumah is hutrah b’tzibbur, so technically they could have used the tammei oil. Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, zt”l, answers that indeed it was not necessary, but it is the unnecessary things, the “extras” that a Father does for his children that demonstrate his chavivus. Chanukah was established as a Yom Tov of avodah with hallel and hoda’ah. It is also commemorating the Chanukas HaMizbeiach. The Bach says that Chanukah was not instituted to be celebrated with mishteh and simcha, as was Purim, because it is centered on the avodah. He writes that the gezeiros came about as a result of a weakening in our avodah and it was returned when the kohanim were moser nefesh for the avodah. Chanukah is the time to thank Hashem for allowing us to return to the avodah in the times of the Chashmonaim, and to awaken our desire and drisha for the Beis HaMikdash in our times.
All we need is sincere bikush. The Yalkut Shimoni (Shmuel 1:1) says that Yisrael will not be redeemed until they are mevakesh the following three things: malchus Shamayim, malchus Beis Dovid, and the building of the Beis HaMikdash. The Ramchal in the end of Derech Chaim writes that bikush means more than just davening for something. It requires that we do everything in our power to facilitate its coming. By ridding ourselves of all the obstacles that distance the Shechinah from us, and by stopping machlokesim between us, we will show that we have real bikush for the Shechinah to return.
It is time for us to begin to make sure that our Father has a home. When He sees that we want Him to return we will be zocheh to see the building of the Beis HaMikdash, b’beias goel tzedek amen.