One lesson we can learn from Chanukah is that one's success should come from mastering himself, by controlling his environment rather than letting his environment control him.

In addition to the blessing that we make on the lighting ("... that we are sanctified with G‑d's commandments in that He commanded us to light the Chanukah candle"), Chanukah has a unique 2nd blessing. Since the focus of Chanukah is its miracles, the Rabbis established a separate blessing: "…that You made miracles for our forefathers in those days, in these times!" This blessing tells us that through fulfilling the commandments of each holiday, we are able to recreate the same spiritual environment that existed during the original event - now.

We will not allow the world to close down the Holy Temple that exists within each of us….

What happened then? The Greeks and the Jews that were influenced by them wanted to drive the Jewish people away from the Torah and their special connection to G‑d. They did not object to the Torah as philosophy. They were upset that we were in touch with the Torah's divine element.

This same struggle is happening today. Society is relentlessly trying to impose its base values on our lives, secularizing us and replacing our Jewish awareness that G‑d runs the world and that our lives and actions must reflect this through learning Torah and performing its commandments. Technically, it would be enough to light one candle each night to fulfill the commandment of the Chanukah lights. Yet, each year, the Jewish People fulfill the Chanukah commandment and do so in the most exceptional way, by adding a new candle each night, thus proclaiming that we recognize G‑d as "the Boss" and cherish His commandments. We will not allow the world to close down the Holy Temple that exists within each of us, and we pray fervently that He will soon allow us to do our part in building the physical Third Temple.

Shabbat Shalom & Happy Chanuka! Shaul

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