In 167 BCE, the temple in Jerusalem had been desecrated by Hellenistic leaders. They had not only desecrated the temple, but the Greek culture had so infiltrated the land of Israel that the people were losing their identity as the people of Yahweh (God). Their very existence was at risk.
In seeing the apostasy, a small group of courageous Jews known as the “Maccabees” organized a revolt that liberated the defiled temple. Of course the temple had to be cleansed and rededicated. Tradition has it that there was not enough purified oil needed for the menorah to burn continuously. There was, however, enough for one day. The miracle was that the day’s oil burned for eight days, enough time for the preparation of fresh oil. Noteworthy is the fact that, as described in the book of John, Jesus was walking in the temple at Jerusalem during the time of the dedication.
Eventually the revolt ended with the eviction of the Hellenistic culture from Israel.
This month many courageous men and women will go back to Israel in response to their identification as Jews. They will grow and thrive in the Land, in spite of world opinion and strong opposition. Their inspiring stories of why they are making Aliyah inspire us afresh, and they remind us that God himself deems Israel to survive through His hand and their obedience.
May we all, in our own ways, carry the light of our LORD during this Holy Season.
Operation Exodus USA