Paradox of Chanukah

The holiday of Chanukah carries with it a paradox. A very high percentage of Jews observe this holiday in Israel and the Diaspora. Probably more Jews observe Chanukah than any other holiday except for maybe Pesach and Yom Kippur.

The paradox is that the message of Chanukah seems to run contrary to those who observe it. Most do not realize that the main struggle of the Maccabees was to fight assimilation and Hellenism. Jews were leaving the observance of Torah for the Greek way of life.

The rebellion by Matityahu himself, began when he killed a Jew who was publicly eating swine. The cry of מי כמוך באלים ה׳ (a mnemonic for the name מכבי), was an open announcement that those who follow Hashem, should join the revolt against the Greeks.

The lighting of the Menora in the Temple, was a sign that sanctity prevailed and the Torah and those who observe it, were the victors.

It’s great that so many Jews participate in the lighting of the Menorah. It would be even greater if the message of Chanuka was fulfilled in our day as well.