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Hanukah / Hindsight

   The Talmud explains the miracle of the small flask of oil that was found sealed with the seal of the Kohen Gadol as the reason for the annual celebration of Hanukkah. The Gemara concludes the story saying, "Another year, they established these days as Festivals to say Hallel and give thanks." The question is why did the Sages delay the establishment of a holiday to another year?

   One of the answers given is that although they had regained control of the temple and purified it and rededicated the rituals, the war with the Syrian-Greeks continued for another 20 years after the miracle of the oil. This would explain the delay but does not explain why the Gemara would bother to mention it.

    The lesson is: Don't jump to conclusions! One should not rush to evaluate the significance of an event until ample time has passed to put things in perspective.

    When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963 emotionally charged legislators all over the country started to re-name airports, boulevards and schools after the deceased President. West Virginia almost changed the name of the state in the days following the murder. The proposal was soon forgotten. In light of revelations about the fallen leader and his life and politics many might want to rescind the emotionally motivated changes that were made immediately after his passing. After the Gulf war the approval rating of the first President Bush was sky high but several months later he was out of a job.

   We must all realize that life moves very quickly and that what seems so significant today may still be important tomorrow or it may fade quickly from our consciousness. Good wine requires a patient aging process and very often-successful decisions are made only after one gives ideas time to cook slowly. Only after time places events in perspective can one be certain that one's evaluation of their significance is correct. Don't jump to conclusions. Give things a minute and more, and your reaction will turn out to be in the correct proportion more times than not.


    We read the Torah in the synagogue all the eight days of Hanukkah from the chapters speaking about the offerings brought by the tribal leaders in the desert for the dedication of the Tabernacle. The reason is that the Tabernacle was completed on the 25th of Kislev the same day as the first day of Hanukkah. [The use of the Tabernacle as a Temple with daily offerings did not begin until the first of Nissan 4 months later]. (Source, Mishna Berurah, Siman 684:1) Another reason is that Hanukkah means dedication and the Torah portion that we read tells of the dedication of the Tabernacle ľour first Temple. (Source Lebush, Siman 684:1)


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