“The Lord said – Inasmuch as this people has drawn close, with its mouth and with its lips it has honored Me, yet it has distanced its heart from Me – their fear of Me is like rote learning of human commands -Therefore, behold, I will continue to perform more wonders against this people – wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise men will be lost and the understanding of the sages will become concealed.” (Isaiah 29:13-14)
The negative wonders described by the verse are the loss of wisdom and the concealment of understanding. Chanukah, a time when we did not pay lip service, and certainly did not live by rote observance of commands, but were willing to fight to the death for our relationship with God, was the opposite: It was a renewal of the Oral Law. It was a time of increased wisdom and manifest understanding.
We can use this time before Chanukah to make sure that our learning and observance are not rote, that our words are not empty lip service, but passionate expressions of our desire for a relationship with God, so that we too, will merit increased wisdom and revealed understanding.