Tuesday, November 28, 2006

100% pure- nothing less

We all know the Chanukah story.

Or, do we?

Here are some of the misconceptions:
1) There was no oil to be found anywhere in the Temple. The miracle was that they managed to find one small jug- just in time to light the Menorah.

Actually, the place was full of jugs of oil; it's just that not one of them still carried the seal of the Kohen Gadol (High priest), so they were technically impure. The miracle was that they eventually found one jug of pure oil.

Which brings us to the next misconception...

2) It is Halachically unacceptable to use impure oil to light the Menorah in the Temple.

In truth, there is Halachic provision for using impure oil for the Menorah, if there is no pure oil available.

What then- you ask- was the big deal about not finding oil with the special seal?

The Hellenist attack against Judaism focused on our absolute, often irrational commitment to Hashem and His Torah. They couldn't accept that we wouldn't do away with those areas of Judaism that seem to simply make no sense. That's why they attacked the seals on the oil- the sign of spiritual purity, which they claimed was imagined. They expected us to level with them and acknowledge only the logical aspects of Jewish life.

But, a Jew's relationship with Hashem is absolute. It begins at eight-days old, before the rational mind is activated, and sits at the essence of his/her Self until our their breath. A Jews and his religion can never be separated. Jew and G-d share a super-rational bond.

Chanukah illustrates this bond. Even when there is rational basis within Judaism to settle for a compromised connection to G-d, the Jewish soul insists that nothing less than the absolute purest expression of that bond will do.

And, when you commit yourself to G-d unconditionally, miracles occur.

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