Chanukah: The Dark Side and the Light

The Greeks, in their conflict against the Jews, primarily aimed to destroy the Jews spiritually, not physically. That is, in contrast to Purim, when Haman decreed to wipe out every Jewish man woman and child, the Greeks sought to wipe out Torah study and observance from the Jewish people, so that the Jews would remain “like all other nations,” not spiritually distinct. Rather than clinging to their “bizarre” idea of One God with a plan for humanity and a universal moral standard to be upheld by mankind, the Jews should surrender to the Hellenic pantheistic worldview in which every man may do what seems right in his own eyes. The proper commemoration of Chanukah, the celebration of Jewish victory over this unique form of Greek oppression, therefore, should consist of an increase in Torah study during these days, to counteract the Greek  plot to sever the Jewish connection to the Torah. Like the light of the menorah that increases each night, let us increase the light of Torah through increased study, and by extension, fulfillment of its word. May the light of Torah, represented by the light of the menorah, shine ever brighter, illuminating the way for all mankind.

Based on Shla”h, Maseches Tamid

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