The holiday of Chanukah, which began this past Saturday night, is an eight-day festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE.
The word "Chanukah" means "rededication," and the first time it was celebrated was by those who had missed their opportunity to bring sacrifices to the Temple at Sukkot, because they were at war. Although the holiday originated from a military victory, the rabbis of the Talmud chose to emphasize not military might, but matters of spirit, and so turned the focus of the holiday to a previously little-mentioned miracle.
Olive oil was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night. The story goes that there was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah.
Today, we should remember the wisdom of the rabbis, who, while they did not fail to understand that sometimes war is necessary, also understood that it is not desirable, and should not be glorified. At this time, and in this season, let us remember instead, that anything is possible when we turn our hearts towards rededication and towards peace.