By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh Hayeshiva, Machon Meir
Down through the generations, starting with Israel’s appearance on the stage of history at the Egyptian Exodus, all the way to our own day, there have been attempts to destroy Israel and the Torah. Some seek to annihilate the Jews like Haman and the Nazis -- may their name be blotted out. Others attack the Jewish People “to make them forget Your Torah and transgress the laws of Your will” (Al HaNissim). These include the Greeks of the Second Temple, and the Communists of the U.S.S.R. during the Stalinist period. Neither group will succeed with their plot. As the Prophet Isaiah said (Isaiah 54:17), “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment, you shall condemn.”
Today, the Jewish People, rising to rebirth in their land, are defending themselves against those attempting to annihilate them. With our own eyes we shall see how all such plots will be foiled. As King David said, “You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9).
It does not suffice to defeat Israel’s enemies on the battlefield. We must also increase the light of Israel -- the light of “love and faith,” the Torah, which is compared to light, as in Proverbs 6:23: “For the mitzvot are a lamp, and the Torah is light.” Against all those plots to “make them forget Your Torah and transgress the laws of Your will” we must increase the quantity and quality of Torah learning amongst the Jewish People, and the return to Jewish roots.
The little Chanukah candles that the Jewish People have been lighting for thousands of years recall the miracles and wonders that G-d did for us in those days at this season. The enemies of Israel have never succeeded in snuffing out those lights, even amidst the darkest exile. From those candles we draw faith and trust in G-d that the day is not far off when we will see with out own eyes how “a new light shall shine over Zion.” May we all speedily merit that light!
With blessings for a joyous Chanukah,
And looking forward to complete salvation,