In a Shiur delivered on Shabbat Chanukah 5766, Rav Shalom Carmy told over a question posed by Rav Soloveitchik. In the beginning of Hilchot Chanukah, Rambam retells the story of Chanukah, putting major emphasis on the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael. There were many miracles that occurred during the story of Chanukah, including the Chashmonaim defeating the Greeks, the purification and rededication of the Beit HaMikdash, and the miracle of the oil lasting eight days. Rav Soloveitchik wondered why Rambam stressed the restoration of the Jewish State. What about all of the other miracles?
The Rav first suggested that Rambam valued the political triumph. Even though the Chashmonai government did not always uphold to the teachings of Chazal, and did not lead to the ultimate coming of the Mashiach, it was still worthy enough to be celebrated and be thankful for. Rabbi Carmy points out that it is difficult to interpret the Rav’s words without making reference to the modern State of Israel. Although the current government in the State of Israel in many ways falls far short of what we wish it could be, it is still a Jewish government dedicated to the protection of its citizens, and supports Torah learning in Eretz Yisrael. It is therefore something to be celebrated and be thankful for.
In Rabbi Carmy’s Shiur, another suggestion was offered. Had the Greeks retained sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael and the Beit HaMikdash, the Beit HaMikdash would have become a place of disgrace. Hashem and the Jewish people would have had to distance themselves from the Beit HaMikdash and put themselves into a self-imposed Galut. As terrible as the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash would have been, the abomination that it could have become would have been far worse. Rabbi Carmy points out that we even have records (through the Dead Sea Scrolls) of Jews who had to distance themselves from the rest of Bnei Yisrael in order to retain their purity. By Hashem restoring Jewish sovereignty to Eretz Yisrael, He spared the Jewish people and the Beit HaMikdash from this potentially terrible fate. Therefore, the Rambam emphasizes the miracle of the restoration of Jewish sovereignty because it encompasses the restoration of the Beit HaMikdash as well.
Over two thousand years after the miracles of Chanukah, Hashem has yet again reinstituted Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael by giving the Rabim BeYad Me’atim, the many into the hands of the few. May it be the will of Hashem, as we believe it is, that the current State of Israel lead us to the ultimate coming of the Mashiach, and the final dedication of the Beit HaMikdash.