One of the oft-cited teachings of Rav Hirsch is that every Jewish holiday contains an infusion of kedusha (holiness) and a lesson, both of which aren't only important in and of themselves, but rather so that they can be carried into the days that follow the holiday, the whole year round. The lesson of Pesach, for example, might include elements of freedom (particularly from chametz = yetzer hara) and gratitude (to God for taking us out of Egypt), among other things.

What's the takeaway message for the holiday of Chanuka?


2 Answers 2


R' Yaakov Weinberg explained that the lesson of Chanuka was that of survival in exile. The lesson of Chanuka was that in the darkness we can create our own light.

  • 2
    Summarizing a 30 minute shiur into a 20-word take-away message waters it down, but what can ya do. Jan 14, 2015 at 4:44
  • 1
    Is "survival in exile" really the lesson of a Chag commemorating events that took place in Eretz Yisra'el (events that, in a way, marked the beginning of renewed Jewish sovereignty there)? I would have thought that would be a more appropriate lesson for Purim.
    – Tamir Evan
    Jan 14, 2015 at 16:32
  • @TamirEvan That's a good point, but there were certainly elements of exile in the Chanukah story; we were kicked out of the Temple, for instance, and we lost governmental autonomy over the Land of Israel.
    – MTL
    Jan 14, 2015 at 17:45
  • @TamirEvan Yes - there was no Shechina in the second Temple. R' Hirsch actually writes that the entire second Temple period was just a pre-Galus focus group. R' Weinberg's driving point was that whatever the message of Chanuka is, the starting point is that it was not an intrinsically necessary message, otherwise it would have been there from the beginning of the existence of the Jewish nation. It only became relevant at that point. Jan 14, 2015 at 18:24
  • Purim was amidst "hester panim," Hashem being hidden. Chanuka is the long-term transition into that mode of existence. Jan 14, 2015 at 18:25

Rav Reuven Leuchter in a shiur says the message is "mesirus nefesh" for Avodah (just as the Maccabees were prepared to lay their lives down [moser nefesh] for the avodah), especially starting around 23 mins 30 secs. Our avodas HaShem has to be real. Particularly our tefilla has to be real, serious. We should decide to stay for davenning to the end. We must say the words so it is clear that we are speaking to Someone.

And see YeZ's comment!

  • You could try and summarize how R. Leuchter sees "'mesirus nefesh' for Avodah" as a lesson from Chanukah (rather than just explaining what it means).
    – Tamir Evan
    Jan 14, 2015 at 17:37
  • @TamirEvan Done as requested. Jan 14, 2015 at 17:43
  • This fits very well with what the Bach writes the reason decrees were imposed on the Jews because they were lazy in their avodah
    – sam
    Jan 14, 2015 at 17:50

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