You know friends, many people think that on Chanukah we are commemorating the miracle that Hashem did for our forefathers thousands of years ago. The Chassidic masters teach that this simply isn’t the case.
Chanukah isn’t a commemoration of a historic miracle; it is the yearly re-experiencing of the very same spiritual revelation that produced the original Chanukah miracle (see Kedushas Levi, Kedushos L’Chanukah 1 and Meor Einyaim, Yisro, “isah”). ~ Yaakov Klein
A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light. ~ Moshe Davis
Think of the entire world as being held in balance, and this one deed of yours as the one to tip the scales. ~ Maimonides
Just one more light can change everything! ~ R’ Tzvi Freeman
We aren’t obligated to have a seudah on Chanukah. Shulchan Aruch (670:2) states, “Some say that there is a little bit of a mitzvah to have large meals…” But it certainly isn’t an obligation. Why is Chanukah different than all other holidays?
The Chidushei HaRim zt’l answered with a mashal: A simple farmer married the king’s daughter. Does anyone need to tell him to celebrate with a seudah? He will certainly do so on his own. His heart is full of joy, and he will host big feasts and invite all his friends. On Chanukah the Shechinah comes down to us, lower than ten tefachim [which It does not do the rest of the year]. We don’t need to be told to have a seudah. We are so happy, we will do so on our own! ~ R’ Elimelech Biderman Shlita
“May the Merciful One perform for us miracles just like He did for our fathers, in those days, in this time.” (Harachaman in Birchas Hamazon if forget Al Hanisim).
Many question why we could say this Harachaman and pray for a miracle considering miracles generally deplete a person’s merits. However, the Yeshuos Yaakov explains that when a miracle has publicity and creates a kiddush Hashem, like the nes of Chanukah, not only is it permitted, but it is a mitzvah to ask for such a miracle!
When Hashem performs open, revealed miracles, it generates awareness that even when matters seem natural, it’s Hashem’s hashgachah (see Ramban end of parashas Bo). Based on this, the Kedushas Levi (Chanukah, Kedushah 5) explains that we light Chanukah candles to contemplate the miracles, and to acknowledge that everything that happens is hashgachah pratis. ~ R’ Elimelech Biderman Shlita
The Chofetz Chaim zt’l told the following story:
The Dubno Magid zt’l once met a blind widower walking with his son in the streets of Vilna. Most people didn’t pay much attention to them, but the Dubno Magid greeted them, and spoke with them. They told him about their great poverty, how their home wasn’t heated, and that they didn’t have food. The Dubno Magid took them into his home so they could warm up, and to eat dinner. The Dubno Magid noticed that the son was very wise, so he hired a melamed to teach him Torah.
From that day on they became part of the Dubno Magid’s household. Even after the blind father was niftar, the Dubno Magid continued paying for the child’s tutor.This child became Reb Shlomo Kluger zt’l, one of the gedolei hador, whose Torah illuminates the world until today.
The Chofetz Chaim would say: Many people saw the blind pauper with his son walking around the streets of Vilna. They shook their heads, said ‘nebach! What a rachmanus!’ and that’s about all. But the Dubno Magid took action. He showed concern, fed them, and paid for a tutor for the child. If the Dubno Magid hadn’t helped them out, the Jewish nation would have lost a gadol b’Yisrael. Let’s learn from this to grasp opportunities to do chesed, because you can never know what you will accomplish…
~ R’ Elimelech Biderman Shlita