Chanukah: Putting in our best effort.

There is an interesting law associated with Chanukah: “kuvsuh ain zukkuk luh” that if the flame goes out after we light the menorah (not due to our negligence), we are NOT required to re-light the candle!

This is a bit perplexing — being that the very symbol of Chanukah is the light of the menorah, one would expect that its continued glow be of paramount importance.

When the Hasmonian family realized that they had no choice other than to confront the Greeks and attempt the impossible, they linked up with a force beyond themselves and achieved the impossible. They reached for what was beyond their grasp and were thus privileged to initiate events that transcended nature: the victory over the Greeks and the flask of oil which burned for eight days.

The Greeks wanted to deny us our claim — that we are not limited as merely observers in this world (the Greek viewpoint), but rather active “participants” and partners with God in the perfecting of the world.

The lesson of Chanukah is that our responsibility is to demonstrate our dedication and commitment by putting forth our best efforts-even when it seems that it will be for naught and that we can not succeed. Our “partner,” God, will take care of the rest.

Kuvsuh ain zukkuk luh“-we don’t have to re-light the menorah. Our role is simply to do our part (to light the menorah). The rest is no longer in our hands but in our “partner’s” control.

Have a wonderful and illuminating Chanukah!

Rabbi Zvi Teitelbaum is the director of Mesorah DC, a Jewish educational organization for young professionals in Washington, DC.  Join Rabbi T every Monday night at Sixth & I synagogue at 7:00 p.m. for dinner and learning.  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rabbi Teitelbaum.

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