This is one of the 3 miracles of Chanukah and the one memorialized by decreeing the holiday on the 25th of Kislev as opposed to the 24th when the miracle of the military victory happened or the 26th when the oil actually started burning supernaturally.

But why is finding something unlikely a miracle at all? We constantly find things that are hard to find. It's a question of probabilities. One could argue that the only miracle is really the one of the 26th of Kislev (the oil could not last, but it did) - as there all kinds of unlikely military victories in history and all manner of hard to find things were indeed found?!


1 Answer 1


Good question! I propose as follows: Firstly, you agree that the oil having burned 8 days vs 1 was a definitely a miracle, right? Second, "What is the purpose of a miracle in the first place?" I ask. Well, quite obviously, the most basic purpose of a miracle is to show us that God is currently watching us, cares about us, and has control over everything that is happening. Okay, now here goes the answer. Once God clearly indicated the three aspects of his providence listed above, through the performance of the obvious miracle of the burning of the oil, that naturally directed the Nation of Yisrael to look back at the recent events and see things in a new "light"! A "Light of Miracles" to be precise. They now naturally saw how the "Victory of War" wasn't just a "Lucky Victory" and they further realized that the "Finding of the pure, sealed flask of oil" wasn't just a "Lucky Find"! In truth, I assume that this is the effect that miracles are supposed to have on us. Obvious Miracles are supposed to lead us to see God's intervention even in those things that we might have taken for chance! I hope you like this answer.

Edit: I just want to add that this might be the reason why we light the Menorah backwards (4,3,2,1) The Neis is about looking "backwards" into the past to see God's miracles.

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    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 6:26
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    Apparently, this bot doesn't know how to differentiate between opinionated and sourced material... What can you do right? : ) Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 6:34
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    Bad bot. I think it's a great answer and rings true from the sources I've seen, shkoyach. There are other opinions too, agreed it's a great question
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 11:50
  • A very fine answer - there's a lot of retroactive re-evaluation of priors that seems to be happening in this story. The Lubavitcher Rebbe is saying something similar (with references to Kabbalistic concepts) in part 5 of the ma'amar I quoted in a comment above. See also here chasidut.tv/nd2013/contents.asp?aid=103807 in a section called שורש כל הג' ניסים - מהוי' דלעילא where it's argued that only on the 25th did it become obvious that YESTERDAY's victory was similarly a victory with a source outside of nature ('Seder Hishtalshelut') Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 11:51

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