Dear Rabbi Fried,
I’ve heard that Hanukkah is said to be the last miracle in Jewish history; is that true?
What you are perhaps referring to is a statement in the Talmud (Tractate Yoma) that the miracle of Purim was the last miracle that was given over to be recorded in Tanach, and Hanukkah was the final “formal” miracle that was “institutionalized” in the form of a holiday, although it was not meant to be recorded in Tanach.
This is not intended to mean that no later miracles transpired. On the contrary, we recite in the “al hanisim” paragraph (recited together with the Hanukkah lighting and prayer service) that God performed miracles “in those times and in our days.” We are meant to utilize the miracles that transpired in Jewish history to realize the miraculous existence of our lives and that of the Jewish people today. The Talmudic statement only refers to institutionalized miracles, which were put into holiday form.
I strongly believe that we clearly see the miraculous way by which God interacts with the Jewish people in our times.
As we have mentioned in past columns, not always do miracles need to be positive for us to notice miraculous occurrences, by which to recognize that the Al-mighty continues to be with us.
We would need to be blind not to notice how, at the onset of Hanukkah, almost the entire membership of the U.N. General Assembly passed six anti-Israel resolutions (surprise, surprise), two of which basically deny the Jewish people’s historic connection to the Temple Mount. It is referenced to only by its Arabic name of al-Haram al-Sharif, the mount of the al-Aksa mosque, not even as the Temple Mount. In this way, with one fell swoop, thousands of years of history were erased and rewritten by our swell pals at the U.N.
Among those thousands of years of history denied by the U.N. is none other than the Hanukkah miracle. Let’s not forget that the meaning of “Hanukkah” is consecration, referring to the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees after the Greeks sought to defile it and relegate the holy Temple to an artifact of history or a museum. They didn’t try to physically destroy it, rather reduce it to be just another aesthetic edifice.
The Maccabees, despite their small number and being against the mighty Greek empire, succeeded in returning the crown of the Temple Mount to its prior glory.
The fact that the modern-day Greeks, the U.N. General Assembly, would again seek to deny the existence of the Holy Temple on erev Hanukkah, should only reinforce our belief in miracles and our noticing God’s Hand in our destiny.
This should awaken us, as a nation, to rededicate ourselves to the holiness of the Torah and the Jewish people represented by the Temple Mount and the message of Hanukkah.
A joyous Hanukkah to all the readers.
Dear Rabbi Fried,