Tonight R’ Bamberger continued to discuss the topic of Chanukah. Tonight’s vaad was based on a letter written by R’ Dovid Heksher.
In the story of Chanukah the Greeks attempted to destroy the sanctity of the Torah. Matisyahu and the Chashmonaim valiantly resisted them and thwarted their plans. What was the significance of this conflict?
The chochmah (wisdom) of the Torah is unlike every secular form of wisdom. While the human mind can comprehend secular wisdom, the wisdom of the Torah is far beyond human comprehension. The only way to attain the wisdom of the Torah is through receiving it as a gift from Heaven. Since G-d intended the Torah solely for the Jewish people, a gentile is not able to understand it. As we recite each day in our daily prayers: “G-d did not make known his statutes to the nations of the world.”
The Greeks were renowned for their wisdom. The Rambam maintains that the Greek philosophers were so brilliant that they were nearly on the level of prophets. Despite their great wisdom, they had no access to the wisdom of the Torah. This deficiency in their wisdom bothered them greatly. Instead of conceding their inferiority to the Jewish people, they did everything in their power to wrest the Torah away from the Jewish people.
How did the Greeks attempt to accomplish their objective? By contaminating everything that was sacred. The Greeks reasoned that they could stop the Jews from learning Torah through constructing theaters and stadiums in Eretz Yisroel. They also made thirteen breaches in the wall surrounding Jerusalem, corresponding to the thirteen hermeneutic principles by which the Torah is expounded. This was also the significance of the Greeks sacrificing a pig in the Holy Temple and the contamination of all the jars of oil.
The Greek culture is still very much alive in the various forms of entertainment that secular society provides us with. To the extent that we can insulate ourselves from the influence of the media that surrounds us, we can continue the battle of the Chashmonaim against the Greeks.