Hanukkah: One last taste of sovereignty

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The celebration of Hanukkah is often attributed to the dramatic miracle of the menorah oil. After vanquishing the invading Greek armies, the miracle of the menorah oil signaled Jewish resurgence. Unfortunately, most of the oil in the plundered Temple was vandalized and contaminated by the marauding Greeks.

The sensational discovery of one unopened and unmarred flask of oil was, itself, cause for great joy. Witnessing a minuscule amount of oil steadily burn for eight days confirmed that even at the tail end of the Second Temple era, God’s supernatural miracles still protected His chosen nation. The “few” had defeated the “many,” and a righteous band of brothers had overcome the invincible northern Greek armies. Overwhelming military might could not defeat the Jewish spirit, and our heroism was embodied in the miracle of the oil.

Surprisingly, in his initial account of the Hanukkah episode, Maimonides didn’t stress the oil miracle as the primary cause for celebration. After all, many supernatural miracles occurred during the Temple era, yet none of them were enshrined into a week-long festival. There must be something beyond the oil miracle that warrants our national celebration?

“[As a result of the divinely aided military triumph] Jewish sovereignty was restored for more than 200 years.”

Maimonides

Maimonides provides the answer: “[As a result of the divinely aided military triumph] Jewish sovereignty was restored for more than 200 years.” The Hanukkah victory ended Greek persecution and restored Jewish autonomy. Hanukkah didn’t occur in a “historical vacuum” but instead reshaped Jewish history by restoring our lost sovereignty.

Read More @ JPost HERE