Chanukah: Relevant Today as Ever

The two great threats we constantly face in Galus are annihilation and assimilation. There are always nations who want to annihilate us or to change our way of life. Chanuka and Purim are the two Yomim Tovim which are commemorating these two aspects of the Galus. On Purim, Hashem saved us from annihilation and Chanukah, Hashem saved us from assimilation.

There are two ways we face the threat of assimilation. One way is through force and pressure and the other way through lure and integration.

In the times of Galus Yavan, there were two threats of assimilation facing the Jewish People. One, was from the Greco-Syrian Empire who tried to force Greek Culture in the Land of Israel. They suppressed Mitzvah observance and built Greek institutions throughout the Land. The second threat was from the “Misyavnim”, people who were lured to Greek Culture and were trying to mix Torah and Greek Culture.

Both Greek efforts were not exclusive to the land of Israel. The Greek Empire was different than the Persian Empire. The Persian Empire prided themselves with allowing locals to keep their own culture and traditions. Whereas, the Greek Empire was trying impress and force their culture on the locals. They did so in Egypt, Syria, and even as far as India and Central Asia. While the other cultures succumbed, the Yidden didn’t let go of the Holy Torah.

The Chashmona’im faced two battles. One, to free themselves from the aggression of the Greco-Syrian Empire. The second, to re-establish the purity of Yiddishkeit in Eretz Yisroel and get rid of the Idols and cultural influences of the Greeks.

The miracle of the war won the first battle. The miracle of the oil and rededication of the Beis Hamikdash won the second battle. The Chashmona’im inspired the majority of the Yidden to come back to Hashem and to serve Hashem without compromising the Torah.

Chassidus teaches that the Ohr that brought the miracles, repeats itself and is revealed every year anew. The Koach that we have today in Galus to withstand annihilation and both forms of assimilation, is through the Yomim Tovim of Purim and Chanukah. Without Chanukah and Purim, says many Seforim (Meor Einayim, Sfas Emes, and more) we couldn’t have survived.

May we be Zoche to the ultimate Ohr with Mashiach Tzidkeinu very soon!