Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Chanukah

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


In the prayer "Al HaNisim" [for the miracles] that we add during Chanukah, we read that G-d's miraculous deliverance included "the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the provokers into the hands of those who involve themselves with Your Torah." We understand the miracle of "the strong into the hands of the weak" and "the many into the hands of the few" -- but why do we emphasize "the impure into the hands of the pure?" Is this necessarily miraculous?

Rabbi Shlomo Brevda shlit"a, one of the current leaders in the promotion of Jewish ethics, offers an explanation by Rabbi Yechezkel Levinstein zt"l (of blessed memory) of the progression from pure, to righteous, to involved with Torah. This teaches us an important lesson: the entire battle was spiritual. It may have looked like a war, but the battle was supernatural, and depended upon spiritual levels rather than physical strength. Thus each level of evil, as embodied in a Greek soldier, could only be overcome by a Jewish fighter with a corresponding level of holiness.

The average soldier was not truly evil, but was merely dominated by the impure practices and beliefs of the Greek oppressors. To rebuff him, a Jew merely needed to avoid these impurities -- and thus the battle brought "the impure into the hands of the pure."

There were other Greeks who were indeed evil (who helped to set up idols in the Temple and force Jews to abandon their faith). Such soldiers could only be beaten by those who were not merely free of Hellenist beliefs, but had dedicated themselves to observe Mitzvos even when self-sacrifice was involved - meaning it had to be "the wicked into the hands of the righteous."

Finally, there were those Greeks who were "great in their wickedness," those who enacted the decrees to separate the Jews from G-d and Torah. These individuals could only be countered by those great Jews who were totally involved with the study of our Holy Torah -- and thus "the provokers" could only fall "into the hands of those who involve themselves with Your Torah."

History often repeats itself, and we find ourselves today looking at a moral decline which might have surprised even the Greeks. Several years ago, Rabbi Frand quoted a study of the top ten problems in the public schools then versus forty years earlier -- and the comparison was mind-boggling: forty years before, gum-chewing in the halls was a problem; when he spoke, kids and teachers were watching out for knives. And since then, we've added school shootings to the national agenda in the United States. Any person of conscience must wonder, what can I do to reverse this? How can I make an impact?

Rabbi Levinstein provides us with one answer, one route out of the pit. The Torah and its commentaries are repositories of ethical teachings and works of spiritual improvement. The more Torah that a person knows, the greater the "soldier" in society's spiritual battles. And the use of the various techniques and advice can indeed bring a person to a higher ethical and spiritual level.

The battle begins at home, or more accurately within oneself. One needn't be a great scholar, or even totally righteous - one merely needs to be free of a particular ill to be able to combat it. But the greater the person, the more a person has immersed him- or herself in Jewish ethics and moral development, the greater impact he or she can have!


 

ARTICLES ON KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

A Tale Of Two Crowns
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

A Cause To Be Effective
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

The Soul of Prayer
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Knowing Why and When To Say When
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Wealth as a Redemption
Shlomo Katz - 5769

Of Mice Traps and Men
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

> Pocketbook Judaism
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Sobering Stories for Purim
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

From Rags to Riches
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

ArtScroll

Searching for Haman
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Joy That Lasts
Shlomo Katz - 5768

The True Purim Experience
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Preparation for Happiness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5769

Oh No! Not DeNILE Again!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Paying Our Debts
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Keeping the Holy Holy!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information