Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Chanukah - 5780

CHANUKAH - AGAINST THE ODDS

A person must have a very good reason to act against the odds.  To spend a dollar on a lottery ticket that has a very slim chance of having value the next day makes no sense, unless there is a potential of a very significant payout.

Traditionally, on Chanukah, many have a practice of playing games of chance.  Generally, gambling is not a recommended way of spending our time (or money).  Yet, this Chanukah tradition is part of our heritage.  Some note that the practice is to teach our children an important lesson: the value of the payout dictates the amount you are willing to wager.  When the payout is great, you are willing to play against the odds.  For a great Torah leader, nothing is more important than the spiritual welfare of the people of Israel.  Matityahu and his sons were cognizant of the challenges as they planned the rebellion against Antiochus and the Greeks.  They knew very well that a few warriors have a small chance in overcoming the powerful Seleucid Empire.  Yet, for the Chashmonaim, religious freedom was a payout that was worth the gamble. 

So next time you spin the dreidel, think of the Chanukah heroes who have inspired the People of Israel for many generations, to do whatever is necessary to keep the light of Judaism alive.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah