Chazal tell us that one of the nissim in the Bais Hamikdash was that the ner ma’aravi always burned longer than it should have. So why was it such a big neis that on Chanuka the oil burned for eight days?
No, no. It didn’t always happen. Yes, for some time it happened, but later on it stopped. By the middle of the second Beis Hamikdash, many years before the story of Chanuka, that neis didn’t continue any longer. And so the neis of Chanuka was a different kind of neis – it came 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 entirely separate neis from the neis of the ner ma’aravi. And so when they saw the neis Chanuka, they went wild with simcha because every neis is a matana; a neis is a gift from Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
I’ll explain that to you. The Chovos Halevavos at the end of Sha’ar Habechina says the following. He says that among the biggest gifts that Hashem gave our nation, the two most precious ones are the Torah and nissim. Do you hear that?! A neis is a tremendous gift. The world doesn’t understand that. People think that a neis is merely that we are in trouble and Hashem came and saved us from our troubles. No, no; Hashem could have saved us in other ways – without a neis. What a neis is, is a gift of emunah. Nissim are a shot-in-the-arm of emunah. Instead of saving us in a natural way, He puts a neis there as a tovah for us. A neis is a tremendous giluy Shechina that is intended to put into our minds a certain dose of emunah.
And therefore, we should make sure to study the nissim and think about them as much as possible. Hashem said, למען תספר באזני בנך ובן בנך. Hashem wants you to always talk over the nissim that happened. Because even though you don’t see it right now, but just remembering the nissim is a tremendous benefit that is on the same level as Matan Torah. The Chovos Halevavos says that the Torah and nissim are side by side the two greatest gifts that Hashem gave the Jewish nation.
TAPE # E-210