Chanukah: Miracles II
“I am distressed over you, my brother Jonathan: you were so pleasant to me! Your love was more wondrous to me than the love of women.” (Samuel II 1:26) David did not speak of “our love for each other,” but of Jonathan’s love, ‘Li,’ for me. David did not see his love for Jonathan as wondrous; only Jonathan’s love for him.
Jonathan was the prince, the future king. Love for someone in such a powerful position is not wondrous. Love for the common person, especially someone who would replace you as king, is a miraculous love. It rises above all natural inclinations and speaks of a love completely based on the other, without any external issues.
The Chashmonaim too, experienced such love from God: The Jews were weak and seemingly insignificant. Even their Beit Hamikdash had been despoiled. The Chashmonaim were fully aware that most Jews were attracted to the Hellenists. There was little reason for God to express His love for Israel, but He did. The Chashmonaim saw each victory, no matter how temporary, as a wondrous expression of God’s love for Israel. They appreciated the cruise of oil as a sign of wondrous love.
The great miracle for them was, “Your love for me,” Israel. The greatest miracle was their ability to appreciate God’s wondrous love even under such dire circumstances.
Chanukah reminds us to find the miracles in our lives, especially to appreciate the miracle of God’s wondrous love for us. We can use this time before Chanukah to begin identifying all the expressions of God’s wondrous love for us as individuals, and for us as Israel.