What is the essence of the light of Hanukkah? Is it about lighting up the darkness? Is it about eating fattening doughnuts? There is probably more confusion about Hanukkah than any other Jewish holiday.
Light in our Soul
Hanukkah is a holiday which is all about our spirit – the spirit in our soul. However, it is very easy to get confused about this. The story goes that the Jewish people were not in physical danger under Greek domination. However, they were in a very serious state of spiritual danger. The Greeks had no problem with the Jewish people living in Israel. They had a problem with Jewish practices. They were fine with the Jews who lived like Greeks and acted like Greeks. As long as the Jewish people did not want to be a distinct and unique religion, the Greeks were fine with the Jews. However, if the Jews wanted to practice their own unique religion, the Greeks were willing to destroy the Jewish people.
Matityahu and his sons were Priests. They were deeply connected to the Temple service and they could not handle seeing the defilement of the Temple via hellenized Jews. They were even willing to die for their religion. Not kill for their religion but die fighting to keep their religion. This was a Holy War – on defense.
Through their victory, we celebrate the essence of the light of Hanukkah.