Chazal tell us that one of the nissim in the Bais Ha’mikdash was that the נר מערבי always burned longer than it should have. So why was it such a big נס that on Chanukah the oil burned for eight days?
No, no. It didn’t always happen. Yes, for some time it happened always but later on it stopped. By the end of the second Beis Ha’mikdash that נס didn’t continue any longer. And the נס of Chanukah was a different kind of נס. The נס of Chanuka was all of a sudden. It was a big surprise. A small amount of oil, which should have only burned for one day, continued to burn and lasted eight days. They needed eight days to prepare the new oil and the small amount of oil lasted eight days. So that was a separate נס from the נס of the נר מערבי. And when they saw the נס of the oil lasting for eight days, they went wild with simcha because every נס is a מתנה, a present from Hashem. A נס is a gift from Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
I’ll explain that to you. The חובות הלבבות at the end of שער הבחינה says the following. He says that among the biggest gifts that Hashem gave our nation are the Torah and ניסים. Do you hear that?! A נס is a tremendous gift. The world doesn’t understand that. People think that a נס is merely that we were in trouble and Hashem came and saved us from our troubles. No, Hashem could have saved us in other ways – without a נס. A נס is a gift of emunah. ניסים are a shot-in-the-arm of emunah. Instead of saving us in a natural way, He put a נס there as a טובה, a great benefit for us. A נס is a tremendous גילוי שכינה, a tremendous revelation of Hashem, that is meant to put into our minds a certain dose of emunah.
So therefore, we should make sure to study the ניסים and think about them as much as possible. Hashem said, למען תספר באזני בנך ובן בנך – I did all this, all these miracles, in order that you should repeat the details over to your children, and to your grandchildren. Hashem wants you to always talk over the ניסים that happened. Because even though you don’t see it right now, but just remembering the miracle is a tremendous benefit that is on the same level as מתן תורה, the same level of the Giving of the Torah. The חובות הלבבות says that the Torah and miracles are side by side the two greatest gifts that Hashem gave the Jewish nation.