What’s Greater: Oil Or Victory??

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Resource Type: Short Article in: English
Age: 10-18
Group Size: 10-59
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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What’s Greater: Oil or Victory??

If a 6 year old was asked what the miracle of Chanukah was, he/she would answer, “The one canister of  olive oil that should have lasted one day only, lasted for eight days.” They would say this, because they see their parents lighting candles for eight days. Most 6  years will not tell you about how Matityahu’s children (Maccabes) rebelled against Antiochus and purified the Beit Hamikdash. The question is why is Chanukah based on the one miracle of the menorah, when a greater miracle is that Yehuda, Shimon, Eliezer,  and Yonatan were able to defeat Antiochous and his Hellenistic army?

This question can be answered by learning the true meaning of the olive oil. When The Maccabes recaptured the Beit Hamikdash, they immediately removed the idols that Antiochus had placed on the alter, and purified the entire place. They then used the one canister of oil to light the menorah. The menorah represented purity in faith. The small drop of oil when lit illuminated the darkest of places. The Maccabes were a small army fighting against Hellenistic armies. They fought with purity, faith, and the desire to once againa worship Hashem in the Beit Hamikdash.  Just as the oil represents purity and faith, so too, the Maccabes fought with purity and faith.   

We can learn a very important lesson from Chanukah. Every action we do, no matter how big or small, must be done in a pure and faithful way. If we live our lives like the Maccabes fought their wars, we will be successful in all our endeavors and will illuminate our lives, and everyone’s lives around us. 

By: Ezra Javasky

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