The Preciousness of Hashem by Michael Winner/12/23/2011 On the first night of Chanukah, my wife and I got “home sick” for Jerusalem. Every year, we would light our menorah in the window overlooking the street. At the same time, one of our neighbors would be out with his sons lighting theirs down below and singing ma’or zur. Within 30 minutes, the entire block was lit up with menorahs. Here? I saw three menorahs on the way to shul. There were more homes that had the glow of the television coming out than that of the menorah.HOWEVER, we realized the extra bracha of being here. We lit our menorah in its glass case right outside our door way. The kitchen has a window overlooking said doorway. Later that night, my wife saw a father and daughter walk past the menorah and making note of its existence. After a few more seconds of walking, the daughter asked her father if they can see the menorah again.The entire point of the menorah is to publicize the miracle. Perhaps in Jerusalem, it looks nicer to see everybody’s menorahs all lit together, but here, where it’s noticeable, you’re REALLY doing the mitzvah properly.Okay, on to Torah!A member of the kollel told me a nice thing he heard from Rav Shimshon Pincus directly, when he was younger….We have a few questions on Chanukah. When the Gemara speaks about Chanukah, its primary focus is NOT the war, but rather the miracle of the oil. Why is that? Also, the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Chanukah seems to use an interesting language, saying that lighting the menorah is a “mitzvah chavivi ud meod”; it’s a very previous mitzvah. I’m not an expert on the Rambam, but it seems that there are many experts who are confused by his choice of words. It’s unlike him to talk about the “preciousness” of any mitzvah. He’s usually more cut and dry. Why is he getting all “warm and fuzzy” on us?Rav Pincus answers with a parable.There was once a rich man who wanted to get married. However, he did not want to marry a rich girl. Instead, he wanted somebody who was modest and nice, from a good, but non-wealthy background. Finally, after a while of searching, he found such a girl.As the wedding day approached, he told her and her family, that they have nothing to worry about. He has a huge mansion with servants and maids to take care of them. She won’t have to lift a finger, and whenever her family would like to come and visit, they are more than welcome to enjoy the hospitality.Her parents were somewhat surprised. Knowing that he lived so far away, they found some scrap word and made an extra wall in their one-room apartment for the couple to stay in. They were hoping that instead of moving away, they would come and join them.Now… what is more chaviv (precious)? The couple living with the parents, or the parents coming to live by him? The answer is the couple living by the parents. By lowering his standards exponentially, he his showing how precious they are in his life.So too with Chanukah, says Rav Pincus.In the first Beis HaMikdash, there were ten noted miracles that occurred every day. One of them included the Menorah. Yet, the second Beis HaMikdash had none of them… in fact, the menorah that they used (for the first nights of Chanukah) was made of wood. On top of that, but the second Beis HaMikdash was also sitting in disarray, and up until recently had an idol set up inside.In the first Beis HaMikdash, it was a given that you should have miracles seen by everybody on a daily basis. This is Hashem’s house after all! However, the second Beis HaMikdash? It was a poor man’s home in comparison. It needed cleaning, purifying, and a lot of “fixing up”. Yet, what happened? Hashem came to “our house” and performed a miracle using the oil, like He did in the first Beis HaMikdash. Not only did he save us in the war and secured our victory, but more importantly, he showed us that we were still chaviv, precious, to him. This kollel member continued and explained. Since 1948, the Jews in Eretz Yisroel have been saved many times by Hashem in several wars. Each of these wars were expected to wipe Israel off the map. Yet, each time, somehow, we were victorious. Yet, we don’t have established holidays for each of these miracles. Why is that? He answers that while we were certainly saved through miracles, we never saw signs of Hashem showing us how precious and close to Him we were. Yes, He saved us, but He remained “distant”. We didn’t see something “extra” to show us that He was still close and chaviv to us, like He did during Chanukah. That is why we don’t celebrate the miracles of each war.It’s interesting to note, that Chanukah was the last holiday and last “big miracle” that occurred to us before the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed and we were sent into our current exile. Perhaps it’s a sign that no matter how dark the times, as long as we try to invite Him into our “house”, he will always come.Have a great Shabbos Chanukah!