Try and Succeed by Meir Levy


Rav Yehuda Nachshoni quotes the Baal Kedushat Levi who says that there are two types of miracles in the world. The first category of miracles is common miracles which start with something that already exists, a “Yeish,” which Hashem then blesses. The other category of miracles is those that are “Yeish MeiAyin,” ex nihilo. These miracles are something that only Hashem can do. Rav Yehuda Nachshoni cites a Minhag that after the people lit the Chanukah candles they would say the Pasuk (Tehillim 90:17), “Viyhi Noam Hashem Elokeinu… UMaasei Yadeinu Konnenah Aleinu,” “May the pleasantness of Hashem our God … and establish our handiwork for us.” Because in this Pasuk it says “Our handiwork,” Rav Nachshoni infers that the miracle of Chanukah is in the first category. The mighty Greeks were defeated by the small band of Jews. The few Jews were the Yeish that Hashem blessed. Even the miracle of the oil had a Yeish; there was enough oil for one day.

From here the Taz derives his reason for lighting the Menorah for eight days rather than seven (see Rabbi Jachter’s articles on this topic). The reason is that without the one cruise of oil there would be no Yeish for Hashem to bless and no miracle would have occurred. Similarly, before Hashem could let Yosef out of jail, Yosef had to try himself so that there would be a Yeish for Hashem to bless. The theory of existence of a Yeish that Hashem blesses coincides with the opinion of the Chassidic masters that the first miracle of all time led to all other miracles. The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that the miracle of Chanukah is like the recreation of Maaseh Bereishit that goes on every day, as opposed to the original Maaseh Bereishit which was Yeish MeiAyin. The goal of Chanukah is to keep trying to create situations of Yeish for Hashem to bless.  If we try our hardest, we can be sure of Hashem’s blessing in all of our endeavors. 

The State of the Mikdash by Dov Rossman

Oil to Remind Us by Ilan Griboff