The Jewish Eye
Big War Or Small Light - It Depends Who You Talk To
When the gemara (Shabbos 21a) speaks of the Nes of Chanuka, it tells about the Nes of the oil and does not mention the victory on the battlefield. In Al HaNisim we give long mention to the miraculous victory of the mighty Greek army but we do not mention anything about the Nes of the oil. Why?
The Shalal Rov brings from Rav Boruch HaLevi Epstein (author of the Torah Temima) in his sefer Boruch SheAmar, that these two accounts were told to different audiences. The gemara says "Tanu Rabanan". It was the account taught to the Talmidei Chachomim in the Bais Medrash. Al HaNisim on the other hand is said by the Hamon Am, all Yidden, learned and unlearned alike.
To a Talmid Chochom victory in war is clearly in the hand of Hashem who favors the underdog, Elokim Yivakesh Es HaNirdaf". Furthermore we understand that Hashem fights the war and military might is a non-factor in determining the outcome. What impresses the talmid chochom is the Kirva and closeness that Hashem showed us with the Nes of the Menorah. A talmid chochom understands the connection between oil and chochmas hatorah and it inspires him to new heights in his learning. Therefore the gemara focuses on the oil when addressing this group.
A simple layman does not fathom what this Kirva to Hashem means, nor does he know what to do with it, nor does he understand the depths of chochmas hatorah. He relates better to a dramatic battle with a shocking outcome. He too must thank Hashem on his own level. In Al HaNisim we give him the chance.
Let us all rise to the level of talmidei chachomim this Chanuka and raise our level of Torah learning. This year let us not sit on the outside. Let's get the inside scoop of these special holy days!
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