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Dvar for Chanuka 5764

This Dvar is in merit of the refuah shleima (healing) of Yonah Elisha ben Yisraela Aviva. Please pray for his health

Dearest Reader,

Welcome to a special Chanukah edition of the Weekly Dvar. Read it, absorb it, enjoy it and live it....

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Chanukah marks the miraculous victory of the Jews, led by the Maccabees, against Greek persecution. In addition to being victorious in war, when the Maccabees came to rededicate the Temple, they found only one flask of oil with which to light the Menorah. This small flask lasted for eight days. In order to commemorate this miracle, we light a Menorah for the eight days of Chanukah. While this story sounds very much like other victories the Jews had over their foes, one of the great mysteries of this Holiday is the focus placed on what appears, at first glance, to be a relatively minor miracle which occurred during the rededication of the Temple, after its defilement by the Greeks, instead of the great military victory of the vastly outnumbered Maccabees defeating the Greeks.

What stands out about this tyrant of the Jews is that unlike other enemies, the Greeks didn't try to injure or kill the Jews, but aimed at the very core of their Judaism. This displays an understanding of the Jews that no other villain has ever had - they knew that it's our Judaism that sustains us! With this understanding, we can now link this attempted genocide with the concept of a "Menorah" and of fire. Fire has two very unique and distinct qualities that other elements don't: 1) It light up anything around them, without discrimination, and 2) you can use this fire to start another, without diminishing the source. This concept of fire is exactly what helped us get through the Greek's persecution, and why the Menorah and fire were chosen as the focal point of this Holiday! It's our Judaism that lights our world, and it's our Judaism that allows our family, friends and associates to feed off of our energy, commitment, and everything else that Judaism represents. Our charge for Chanukah is to have our Judaism represent even more! The more goodness we represent, the "brighter" our world will be!

Quotation of the Week (thanks to James) - to make up for those that didn't like the last quote:
"Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do." --Voltaire

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Last Updated: Monday, October 03, 2005