Imagine you walk into a magic store where they sell special flashlights equipped with magic lights of different kinds. For example, you can buy the light of science, and when you point that flashlight at your hand, you see not a hand, but cells and blood vessels and tendons and ligaments. Or you can buy the light of art, and you point that flashlight at your hand, you see your hand as if it were a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci – you see form, and color, and texture. And you’re having a lot of fun trying out the different flashlights with the different lights. And then you see one labelled “the light of Chanukah.” What will you see in that light? What is special about the light of Chanukah?
When you point the light of Chanukah you see that everything is a miracle. Even nature is actually a miracle.
Albert Einstein once said: “There are two ways of looking at the world – either you see nothing as a miracle or you see everything as a miracle.”
The Jews see everything as a miracle. The Greeks saw nothing as a miracle. To the Greeks, a miracle was an absurdity. To them only what is reasonable, logical, and rational can be real. Miracles are illogical and therefore not possible.
The Greeks could never access the light of Chanukah, the light of miracles, because they only believed in the light of reason. To them the world always existed, it never was created. History was an inevitable process – the present linked to the past and the necessary outcome of the past. Nothing unusual can happen, history will march on, a consequence on top of the last consequence. Similarly, their view of God, or rather of gods, was of super-beings detached from the world, contemplating themselves. Their gods didn’t care about man. For the Greeks nothing is new under the sun — what “was” always “will be”. Therefore miracles are impossible.
This is why Torah life irritated the Greeks so much that they decided to wipe it out. Torah teaches that God created the world, loves and cares about us, and invites us to be His partner in making history and perfecting the world. The Greeks assumed that the world was perfect already. Everything was as it should be. The world was eternal, history was inevitable, God was impersonal. No expectations of miracles, no hope. Life is a Greek tragedy.
But Torah believes in a God of miracles. And if God so wills it, something radical and new can happen at any moment. In the light of Chanukah we see that everything is a miracle and only love is real. Anything is possible — so never lose hope.