Rabbi Boaz Genut
Former Rosh Kollel in St. Louis
Former Executive Director of Torah Mitzion
Currently Director of the Department of Marriage and Community Affairs at Tzohar
The menorah is the heart of Chanukah. Why?
The menorah mentions to us the Menorah which was at Bet Hamikdash. What does the Menorah present? What is the designation of the Menorah? Well, in order to light the candles of the Menorah they used two materials: olive oil and wicks. These two share in common the fact that they are made by a human being. But our sages tell us about something about the uniqueness of the Menorah:
It is a testimony to the entire world that the divine spirit dwells in the people of Israel – what does “it” refer to? Rav said: It refers to the western candle (of the Menorah) that oil was given into the way it was given to its neighbors but it stayed there so it was used to light other candles. (masechet Shabat 23:2)
The western candle of the Menorah was lighting in a miracle way.
According to that the Menorah combined manmade and heaven-made.
This is the inner meaning of Chanukah.
Two events we celebrate on Chanukah: Winning the battle against the Greeks and lighting the Menorah by the small oil cruse. The first event presents the human being’s effort. The second event presents the involving of G-D in creation.
That principle is also realized in the character of the Hasmoneans. Matityahu and his five children were Cohanim. The Cohanim have an essential role in passing and developing the Totah. On one hand they were scholars, and on the other hand they led the physical resistance to the Greeks. The Torah presents G-D wisdom and the fights expose us the human being’s power.
The Hasmoneans as well as the Menorah demonstrate the connection of man-made and heaven-made, the engaging of Heaven and Earth.