Chanukah is a holiday highlighting miracles. The first miracle occurred when the small but mighty group of warriors, led by Judah Maccabee, fought against the large and powerful Greek army and defeated them. Inspired by his father, Mattathias, Judah led the revolt against King Antiochus who forbade the Jewish people from practicing their religion.
Following their victory, they entered the Temple in Jerusalem and discovered that everything had been destroyed. With only enough oil for one day, they relit the menorah. The second miracle of Chanukah took place when the oil lasted for eight days Ė enough time for new oil to be made and brought to the Temple.
G-dís expressions of miracles have changed throughout time. During the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, G-d sent angels, spoke in dreams, and answered prayers.
G-d tested the Jewish people on their faith and their commitment to the covenant.
In the time of Moses, G-d spoke directly to people. The people were witnesses to G-dís miracles such as the splitting of the sea, the ten plagues, and the manna falling from the sky.
Today, we donít necessarily experience the miracle of G-dís voice. Nor does G-d directly participate in our lives. Well, at least not the way G-d did in the Torah stories. Our experience of G-d and G-dís miracles comes to us in different forms than it did for Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
When we open up to gratitude and begin to appreciate the workings of the world, we can touch G-dís miracles. Those miracles include:
The birth of a baby
The colors of a sunset
A breath on a mountaintop
Children who get up and go to school each day despite poverty, hunger, or abuse
The ability of the body to function
Cycles of sun and moon
Earthís rotation around the sun
A spider rebuilding its torn web
The impact the moon phases has on ocean tides
The word Chanukah means rededication. As the Maccabees rededicated the Temple after their victory over the Greeks, we continually use the commemoration of Chanukah as a time to rededicate ourselves to our Jewish faith.
The existence of the Jewish people is a miracle in and of itself. Our history is fraught with persecution and other peoples trying to wipe out our existence. The Jewish people, however, are still here.
Chanukah is the perfect time to begin to appreciate all of G-dís gifts and the miracles that continue to exist in the world. When we live our lives with an attitude of gratitude, we open our eyes to modern miracles.