Rabbi David Paskin
The Real Miracle of Chanukah
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From Rabbi David
We usually think that the miracle of Chanukah was that the oil, of which there was only enough for one day, lasted eight days. I would argue that that's a cool magic trick but not the real miracle.
As I read the story, the real miracle is how the Maccabees upon finding enough oil for only one night - didn't lose faith and lit the menorah anyway. It would have been easy to find the small flask of oil and say, "oh well - we're going to need a lot more oil to buy us some time to make more of our own. Too bad - we lost this one. Better luck next time."
I mean really - why even bother getting back up when you've been knocked down? If you've failed - you've failed. Just accept it. But they don't accept it. Instead, their response is to persevere. To face their loss head on and not accept failure as an option. Or perhaps to not accept failure as the end.
Losing is a part of life. Not every child gets to be "Super Kid" or "Class President" every week and to a child that can feel unfair. The real test of a Maccabee is whether you can weather that unjust feeling and keep on going. Can we have enough faith in God and ourselves to persevere through the hard times and keep the candles burning? When we can - that is a miracle worth celebrating.