Chanukkah / Uncategorized

The revealed and concealed Chanukkah


Photo: Miriam Woelke


Living our daily routine, we mainly concentrate on physical and material matters. This is what usually happens in our physical world. We need money, a place to live, a job, food, love, etc. If one of these things is missing or we are about to lose it, we start getting nervous and worried. Would our life be the same without a job, love or a nice place to live? We fear that we may end up in the street or just lonely. 
In the end, however, most problems seem to disappear because we find a solution such as a new job or a new place to live. And if not, we may find people or organizations helping us. What we should never forget is: “Life goes on!”
“Life goes on!”-This statement could sound frightening to some people, as they are facing a lot of problems to worry about and who wants to think about the future which doesn’t appear too good at the moment.
When we look at all our worries in life, we realize that we only concentrate on the revealed world. Material, emotional and physical matters. Unfortunately, none of us is really able to look at the concealed world and what is behind all that. Why are we facing these problems and what is my task in life?
A friend of mine just told me that these kinds of thoughts are making her even more depressed. When our existence is at stake, we think about anything but definitely not about meanings and a concealed world.
Chanukkah is the time for miracles but are we able to see the miracle. Many Jews only celebrate the military victory of the Syrian-Greeks and we Israelis wish that our present enemy, the Palestinians and all anti-Semites, would vanish just like the Greek occupation.
The military victory of the Jews stands for the revealed side of Chanukkah but this is not the reason why we celebrate it until today. As Rabbi Yoseph B. Soloveitchik points out, the Jews and the present State of Israel won many wars but victories are never eternal and thus, never last.
The concealed side of Chanukkah as well as the reason why we still celebrate it is the miracle with the oil. The concealed side is a spiritual matter: That the Jews were able to realize their task in this world. They refused to go for Greek idol-worship and thus saved their Jewish souls.
Jewish identity and Torah are more important than any military victory. Our time is not so much different from the days of the Maccabees. We are surrounded by physical and spiritual enemies. There are nations which want to destroy us because we exist and there are nations who want to destroy us because we are Jews. We are still at war-mainly with the Arab world and it’s terrorism. Our spiritual enemy, however, are assimilation, intermarriage and any Christian missionary sneaking around Jews.
Times haven’t changed and sometimes we need a little push in order to return to our Jewish identity. And this is the hidden message of Chanukkah. Making the Jews realizing their strengths.

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