Celebrating Two Miracles
 
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Celebrating Two Miracles
5th Chanuka Candle, 5709 (1948)

On the occasion of Chanuka I wish to send you a word of greeting. It is a good opportunity to strengthen our bonds.

On Chanuka we celebrate two miracles: the victory of the Maccabees over the forces of Antiochus on the battlefield, and the miracle of the oil at the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, following the victory.

The former is expressed in a prayer which we recite during Chanuka -- privately. The latter is expressed through the lighting of the Chanuka candles -- for public display.

The form of our Chanuka celebration thus emphasizes the relative importance of the material and spiritual in our lives. The victory in the battlefield, although miraculous, was a material one. The miracle with the oil, on the other hand, enabled our people to observe the mitzvot of lighting the menora in the rededicated Holy Temple.

Thus it is also in the life of the individual.

Material blessings are only used to their fullest extent if they serve as a means to enable us to live our spiritual life in accordance with the dictates of the Torah. The material must be subordinated to the spiritual; the body to the soul. "The soul of man is G-d's candle," and it fulfills its purpose by spreading the light of the Torah and mitzvot in its entire environment. This is the symbol of the Chanuka lights.

 

 


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