It is the lovely and sublime season of the year when our days are filled with giving light, perhaps reflecting a general sense that light is associated with the Creator. The wisdom of Kabbalah talks about the inner celebration of Hanukkah, what the story and the practices of the celebration mean. This holiday period stands out among all the others because by immersing ourselves in it, we create the miracle inside ourselves and ultimately in the world. Here is the story:
In 170 BCE, the Greeks, led by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, captured the Temple. There was a division between the adherents of Greek philosophy and religion and those who remained loyal to the concept of a single Creator.
Some priests, including the high priest (Cohen Rishon), supported the Greeks. The Jerusalem Temple was desecrated and turned into a sanctuary of Zeus. Severe persecution and forced Hellenization of the population led to the Maccabean revolt, led by Matityahu Hashmonay who issued the call, “He who is for God, follow me!”
The uprising ended with the victory of the Maccabees. Having entered the Temple, they found that the pure oil to light the Menorah candles would last for only one day. But a miracle occurred. The candles burned for eight days and so is called the miracle of Hanukkah.
It is a rebellion against egoism. The Maccabees (love and bestowal) had successfully united the people, as they had been once before when following Abraham, and the Greeks (ego) disagreed with this, so set about destroying that unity. The miracle of a one day’s supply of oil lasting for eight days exemplifies the enormous force of love and bestowal against which the idols of the ego become helpless.
Today’s idols are abundant and we are cleverly and relentlessly drawn to them by the power of marketing and the greed of the elites. Our ego loves these idols with which we endlessly entertain ourselves.
The season of Hanukkah reminds us that we are bombarded with opportunities to create the miracle inside of us—stronger and stronger enticements to suck our pleasure from the idols. All we need to overcome this egoistic magnet is to wish for it, i.e. desire it. If we want to rise above egoism in our unity, then a completely new upper force will be manifested within us, and we will be able to create the same miracle in the same way as did the Maccabees.
Through their unity, the Maccabees attracted the Light that gave them the opportunity to stay in the state of bestowal, love and connection until they began to pull new masses of people towards themselves.
The desires of people who connect with each other in one whole symbolizes the oil, and their gathering in spite of their egoism symbolizes the wick. They burn in their desire to get closer, and when they unite somehow, a light appears within them that support the fire of their desires.
If they begin to be engaged in even greater dissemination and draw towards themselves greater masses of people, then the lamp will burn continuously.
The time is now. The time the Kabbalists wrote about, when humanity is called to follow the example of the Maccabees—to unite among us and move into the Light.
Hag Sameach! Happy Hanukkah!