The Triumph of Israeli Renewal over Greek Stagnation
From "Megged Yerachim" published by "Beit Harav"
The Jewish victory over the Greeks, which brought liberation from national and religious oppression, also broke the shackles of the materialistic, stagnated Hellenist world view. And not by chance was this new hope realized during the month of Kislev.
Joseph the righteous has for generations served as a symbol and model for the survival of the Jewish people in foreign lands. Just as Joseph retained his moral distinction despite being cut off from his home, so did Jacob’s children and their progeny.
The Chanukah lamp represents the Torah. Although the sun, the moon, and the stars illuminate and unveil the presence of God, the Torah is above even them. The perfect Torah testifies to God's greatness more than any other aspect of creation.
God performed a miracle allowing the Hasmoneans to light the Menorah even though they did not have to. This showed Israel that at the source of the argument between the sages of Israel and the philosophers of Greece, the sages of Israel were right.
The sages instituted the lighting of Chanukah candles because it “takes us back” to the site of the miracle. We are therefore called upon to sense that our kindling of these candles is tantamount to the lighting of the menorah in the Holy Temple.
The individual Chanukah candle symbolizes the Torah as a whole - one entity which is more than the mere sum of its commandments. The additional candles allude to the commandments - the concrete outward manifestation of the Torah's inner essence.
What reason is there, in our day, to rejoice over the return of Jewish self-rule in the Second Temple era? After all, we see that, at any rate, the Temple was eventually destroyed, and the Jewish people were exiled from their land.