Do your best and Hashem will take care of the rest
Chanukah has one overriding theme, namely “Do your best and Hashem will take care of the rest.”
If the Maccabees, before they began their campaign, would have considered the overwhelming odds against their victory against the Assyrian-Greeks, they would never have started the rebellion. They would have given up before they began and just tried to survive by lying low. But, instead of lying low or assimilating, which is all the Hellenists wanted, they chose to trust Hashem to help them, as had happened throughout our history, and decided to ignore the odds, and fought.
When the Maccabees defeated the enemy, they found enough certified kosher olive oil to last for one day. It would take another 7 days to manufacture a new supply of olive oil, which was needed to keep the Menorah lit, as is commanded by the Torah. They faced a choice of whether to light the menorah immediately and use the oil up or to wait until a new supply was made. They chose to light it immediately, so as to fulfill the Biblical mitzvah, if even for just one day, and to then go on to manufacture the new supply. Miraculously, the oil lasted for the extra 7 days, thus the holiday of Chanukah.
The miracle of the oil is really the event that we celebrate. Halacha (Jewish law) states that a person should sell his shirt, if necessary, in order to purchase oil for the Chanukah menorah. We don’t demand that for Shabbat or yom tov candles, only Chanukah candles. The reason given for such a demand is that of “pirsumay neesa”- “publicizing the miracle.” We are supposed to remind ourselves and our Jewish brethren of Hashem’s love for us and how Hashem is always with us, helping us accomplish the improbable, if not impossible.
When I talk to young unmarried people, many have expressed that they are waiting to have enough money to get married and have children. I chuckle and respond, “You will never have enough money for either venture. Yet, somehow, we all do it.” One must make the effort, but as I have written many times, “Success or failure is up to Hashem. What is totally in our power is the amount of effort that we exert.”
If one wants a new job, then one must research the profession, learn what is necessary for success, formulate a plan of action, implement the plan, and pray. The same methodology would apply to any endeavor one wishes to undertake. Again, the bottom line is, put in the effort and watch things happen. Never give up. If it doesn’t work at first, tweak the plan and try again. If everything worked the first time, there would be no challenge or growth.
Failure is good when one learns from one’s mistakes and matures. All successful people have been dealt failures. Their “greatness” was that they didn’t give up. They just kept correcting their plan and tried again, until success was attained.
So, as we light the Chanukah menorah this season, let’s remember the overriding message of “You do your best and Hashem will take care of the rest.” Have a happy and healthy Chanukah!
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