Rabbi Jarrod Grover on the Hanukkah Miracle
We often associate the miracle of Hanukkah with the military victory, or the unexpected abundance of oil. However, the Jewish tradition points to another miracle:
When the Maccabees entered the sanctuary, they saw it was desolate and empty (I Maccabees 4:38). Even if they had enough oil, there was no menorah to light! How did they solve this problem?
The Talmud (B Menahot 28b) describes the solution: The Maccabees took seven spears, and planted them into the ground. They covered the handle with metal, and lit the back end of the spear with the oil and the wicks. With this, they solved the problem of not having a menorah to light.
To me, this miracle of Hanukkah speaks to the power of ingenuity, and making do with what we have to solve the problems before us. It is a way of relating the miracle of Hanukkah to the miracle of modern Israel. We often forget that not long ago, the land of Israel was an arid desert with little infrastructure and no natural resources. Today it is a technological and industrial superpower. The story also speaks to the potential of transforming weapons of war into instruments of light. This final message of hope is a universal message that makes Hanukkah so cherished by the Jewish people, and all good people, over all over the world.