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New Synagogue of Palm Beach

235 Sunrise Avenue / P.O. Box 3027

Palm Beach, Florida 33480

Phone: 561-514-4064

info@newsynagogue.org

Chanukah/Vayeshev/Miketz

 WHERE IS THE MIRACLE?

By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim

We light candles on Chanukah for eight nights. We are commemorating the miracle that, after the temple was recaptured from the Greek empire, a single sealed jug of pure olive oil was found and used to light the Menorah, which miraculously lasted for eight days. There was only a sufficient amount of oil to burn for one night, but, miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. Each night of Chanukah, we add an additional candle as we celebrate the historical miracle (until  we finally light eight candles, corresponding to the eight-day miracle).

Many commentators ask an intriguing question. There was sufficient oil to last for the first night. So why do we celebrate that night as part of the miracle of Chanukah? Only the last seven days were miraculous and, therefore, only those days should be commemorated with candle lighting. There are many different answers to this question. Some say that the miracle was the mere fact that a sealed jug of pure oil was found. I once heard a very simple yet profound answer to this question. Although the miracle was not as apparent on the first night, it was just as miraculous as the candle lighting on the eighth night. All the oil should have been consumed on the first night, but, behold, only 1/8 of the oil was consumed (leaving sufficient oil for the subsequent nights!).

Friends, so often we don’t realize the miracles that are occurring before our very eyes. We take the candle burning on the first night for granted and, therefore, fail to see its miracle. We take so much in our lives for granted and fail to pay attention to the wondrous and miraculous nature of everything around us. The miracle of being alive, being able to walk, and the gift of vision are just some of the miraculous daily occurrences we take for granted. We conclude the Al Hanisim prayer on Chanukah with: “...And they established these days to gives thanks and praise to Your great name.” Let us pay attention to the miracles that constantly surround us and give thanks and praise for all our blessings

Fri, June 18 2021 8 Tammuz 5781