Have you heard the famous question of the Bais HaLevi? Why do we celebrate Chanukah for eight days, when the miracle lasted for only seven? After all, when the Chashmono’im rededicated the Bais Hamikdosh, they found enough pure olive oil to light the menorah for one day.
The miraculous events of the additional seven days should remind us of the miracle that took place on the very first day. The Alter of Kelm answers that the fact that oil burns altogether should not be taken for granted. The power for a flame to burn at the end of a wick, and for that flame to be fed by a source of oil is all from Hashem.
Hashem’s gifts abound in this world. We wake up each morning, are able to get out of bed, and are able to stand on our two feet – these are all gifts from Hashem that we tend to take for granted. When we celebrate Chanukah and sing Hallel to the רבונו של עולם, we should not forget the “little” things He does for us each day.
With this in mind, Chanukah is an appropriate time to pay attention to other facets of our lives that we tend to take for granted. We think nothing of picking up a book and reading it, but who taught us to read? Who taught us Torah? How much did our parents sacrifice to provide us with a lifestyle that they perhaps did not have for themselves?
Chanukah is a great time to reach out to those people and express your appreciation for making you what you are today. The Alter’s Chanukah lesson should lead us to a greater appreciation ofהכרת הטוב .
And, as always, our active pursuit of showing הכרת הטוב, both in speech and in deed, goes a long way in instilling this important middah in our children.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School