Chanukah is more than fried foods and presents. Chanukah is about the miracles that God did for us. The miracle is that those who ended up fighting for Hashem won, even though they were weak and fewer in battle. Not only did they win the battle, but the war. Antiochus tried bringing them closer to his gods, but he failed. They won the physical battle and got to be free to do what they pleased — but they also won the spiritual battle, the war. After winning the war, they had a choice to go back to Judaism and restore the Beit Hamikdash, or walk away from it all. Walking away from it all would never put them in the position of being targeted for religion, but the Maccabees chose God and went to restore the Beit Hamikdash.
The Maccabees not only won the war and chose God, but by restoring the Beit Hamikdash, they wanted to light the menorah. There was no oil to be found — but they continued to search until they found one little one that should have lasted a day, but lasted for eight. While we all say the miracle is that the oil lasted longer than it was supposed to, or that they found the oil; I think it is the result of a greater miracle. I believe it is a miracle of persistence of the love toward Hashem and Judaism.
The Jews took the physicality of winning the war and made it spiritual by celebrating the restoration of the Beit Hamikdash. When many Jews were losing their Jewish identity, the Maccabees and some others said: “Mi kamocha Hashem? (Who is like You, Hashem?).” We learn this, because that is the acronym of “Maccabee.” They saw Hashem’s hand and realized his help.
The mindset of the Maccabees was the mindset of Yosef. Yosef noticed Hashem’s hand in everything. In this week’s parsha, Miketz, Yosef realized the mistake he made last week in the parsha — by asking the cupbearer to remember him. He was supposed to understand that Hashem would take care of everything. Now, when the cupbearer remembered him and told Pharaoh about him, Yosef attributed it to Hashem. Yosef finally realized dreams, interpretations and status among other things, are all because of Hashem. The same with next week’s parsha, when Yosef told his brothers: “You didn’t sell me, it was Hashem!”
We can learn the concept of “who is like Hashem” through Yosef, Maccabees and the miracles of Chanukah, and the answer is no one. We can learn that our successes and struggles are all from Hashem, and that the only way to win our struggles and achieve success is through Hashem. Take a moment to realize what Hashem does and what He did for you. When people say or do things you don’t like; it is from Hashem. When you realize it isn’t the person, you have a new outlook on life and can be less angry and happier.
May this Chanukah lead to the rest of the year being filled with joy and the realization of Hashem. May you feel the light of Hashem always with you!
By Shira Sedek