Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Miketz - 5777

THE SPIRIT OF CHANUKAH

In the Haftarah that we are going to read this Shabbat Chanukah, we will hear the words of the prophet Zechariah, who lived during the period of the return from Babylonia and the establishment of the second Beit Hamikdash. Zechariah addresses Zerubbavel the head of the tribe of Yehudah at that time with the following message, “This is the word of Hashem to Zerubbavel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.’ , says Hashem the Almighty."

What the builders of the Jewish homeland and Temple are being told is that although might and power are a necessity in re-establishing our presence in Eretz Yisrael, if it is devoid of the spirit of Hashem it will not succeed. We are reminded of this thought on Chanukah to remember that the heroics of the Chashmonaim would not have succeeded if not for the spirit of Hashem that they imbued.

This message is relevant today as it was two thousand five hundred years ago. The modern state of Israel is indeed an inspiring miracle. The astonishing success of the young state is incredible. After two thousand years in foreign lands, we are proud of our achievements at home. Yet we must remember the words of Zechariah that the only way for Jews to live in Eretz Yisrael is by the spirit of Hashem.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach