Celebrating Two Miracles
5th Chanuka Candle, 5709 (1948)
On the occasion of Chanuka I wish to send you a word of greeting. It is a good opportunity to
strengthen our bonds.
On Chanuka we celebrate two miracles: the victory of the
Maccabees over the forces of Antiochus on the battlefield, and the miracle of the oil at the
rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, following the victory.
The former is expressed in a prayer which we recite during
Chanuka -- privately. The latter is expressed through the
lighting of the Chanuka candles -- for public display.
The form of our Chanuka celebration thus emphasizes the relative importance of the material and
spiritual in our lives. The
victory in the battlefield, although miraculous, was a material one. The miracle with the oil, on the
other hand, enabled our people to observe the mitzvot of lighting the menora in the
rededicated Holy Temple.
Thus it is also in the life of the individual.
Material blessings are only used to their fullest extent if they serve as a means to enable us to live our
spiritual life in
accordance with the dictates of the Torah. The material must be subordinated to the spiritual; the
body to the soul. "The soul of man is G-d's candle," and it fulfills its purpose by spreading the light of
the Torah and mitzvot in its entire environment. This is the symbol of the Chanuka lights.