This past week we held a packed event at Westfield Eastgardens which featured a Judah Maccabee show and a concert by the Mount Sinai junior Chior. We look forward to an exciting Chanukah weekend with a special Friday night service, a communal Chanukah dinner and a Sunday Kids carnival!
I believe most of us know the story of Chanukah quite well. The Ancient Syrian-Greek empire that ruled the Land of Israel in 164BCE outlawed all forms of Jewish practice and ransacked the Jewish Temple. For a period of 3 years a small band of Jews, known as the “Maccabees” fought against the mighty Greek army and eventually overcame them. They then went to restore Judaism throughout the land and rededicate the holy Temple. As they were cleaning the inner rooms, someone found a small cruse of pure, olive oil that still had the seal of the High Priest intact. They used this small cruse to light the Menorah expecting it to only last one day, yet it lasted for eight!
Now, a big fuss is made of the oil, but how many of us know about the Menorah that was used to hold this oil?
The Talmud in Menachot 28b enlightens us. It describes how, unable to find the solid gold Menorah and without the means to afford a new one, the Jews constructed a simple Menorah out of iron rods plated with tin. In other words, it was a cheap and quick construction. But hang on a second, why was there no comparable miracle with the Menorah? Why didn’t the Maccabees also find a gold Menorah in the desecrated Temple along with the oil?
I believe that the answer is relevant to all of us today and I look forward to sharing it with you over Shabbat in Shule!
I also take this opportunity in wishing the Wesek family a joyous Mazal Tov on the upcoming Bar Mitzvah of Daniel this Shabbat!
Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach,
Rabbi Yossi Friedman