The Rav said tonight that the suffering we endure from the goyim is a benefit to us. How could it be that we benefited from the decrees of Antiochus during the days of Chanukah if we weren’t allowed to keep our religion?
You have to know that there was a tiny group of people among us who sought to adopt the ways of the Greeks – and had there been a stronger enthusiasm among the nation as a whole, then such a group could have never arisen. It’s like a sore that arises in your mouth or somewhere else on your body because the whole body tone is not sufficiently vigorous. If the body would have had all the vitamins and all the other requirements for perfect health, then it’s quite possible that this sore would never have happened. And so too, if the nation as a whole had been healthy and vigorous enough in their love of Hashem, then such a painful sore, such a group like the Hellenizers, never could have arisen among us.
And therefore the people were given now an exercise in virtue – it became very hard to be a Jew and they began to sacrifice themselves for Judaism. And that brought them back to their original greatness! And so there’s no question that the decrees, the gezeiros of Antiochus, were a very big benefit for the Jewish people.
TAPE # R-28 (February 1972)