Why men are obligated to light the Chanukah candles?

In the story of Chanukah, when the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem, they entered the Temple and cleared off all the idols that were placed there by the army of Antiochus. When they wanted to light the menorah, they found only a small jug of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the Rabbi Yochanan Cohen Hagadol. It was sufficient to light only for one day. By a miracle of Hashem, it continued to burn for eight days, till new oil was made available. That miracle proved that Hashem had again taken His people under His protection. In memory of this, our sages appointed these eight days for annual thanksgiving and for lighting candles.


Chachamim z"l tell us that the Second Temple was destroyed for only one sin - Sinat Chinam - Baseless Hatred. Only one sin brought down the House of G-d, and I believe we are still battling with it till today. There's no unity, and plenty of lashon hara, dislike and ill-will floating between the communities and between people. I believe that the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash is the sin of the men - this is something we as men are responsible for. 

That's why the obligation to light the Chanukah menorah lies on men and we have eight days to do it - in our own homes, each one no matter what part of the world he is in, or what the situation he may be in. In addition the Sages say that there's a segulah, to look at the burning candles and hopefully this will give us the chidushim or the new understandings in the Torah. But maybe it could also mean, that we should look at the candles and ponder - how can we fix the situation of the divisiveness, the hatred and the distancing between the communities and the people. We got whole eight days to do the pondering,  and the rest of the year to carry out the plan. If anyone can do it, then it is us - men.

Since the destruction of the Second Temple, Hashem has no home to reside in, the Shechina is in exile, the nation is spread around the world, there are plenty of problems in the families, in the nation, and the world as a whole. 

Perhaps, this is the time we say: We had enough of it?!

Perhaps, this is the time to approach this consciously?!

Either, we can keep on lighting our menorahs for years to come - in exile and in our warm homes, distanced from each other, comfortable and in disagreements, or we put our egos aside, make up with each other, unite as a nation and light the Golden Menorah next year in the House of Hashem - our own Bet Hamikdash Shlishi?!!

Shmuel Katanov

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