“And now, pay heed, our Lord, to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and let Your countenance shine upon Your desolate sanctuary, for My Master’s sake.” (Daniel 9:17) The people who lived during the time of the First Beit Hamikdash – Temple – were constantly aware of its light, power and influence. Many avoided the Beit Hamikdash because they did not want to change, and they understood that its light would change them. They were so aware of its light, that they were convinced that it was indestructible. Despite Jeremiah’s many warnings, they could not believe that it was possible for it to be destroyed.
Daniel understood that the Beit Hamikdash was not the source of its own light. It was a reflection of God’s Light, His Presence. He knew that people had forgotten the connection between God and His Temple.
Daniel also understood that God did not need the actual building in order to shower the world with His light: “Let Your countenance shine upon Your desolate sanctuary.” The Beit Hamikdash was destroyed, but it was still the place from where god would spread His light throughout the world. (Rav Saadiah Gaon, Commentary to Daniel)
The Chanukah candles can serve the same purpose as the destroyed Beit Hamikdash, May it be speedily rebuilt. We should pray that God will use the candles as the place from which He will spread His light throughout the world.