Followers of Mattityahu, the priest from Modi'in, began to challenge the Greek strongholds. Historical sources estimate their numbers at six thousand, while Antiochus sent forty thousand troops to overwhelm them. After losses at Shechem and Bet Choron, the king sent an additional sixty-five thousand troops. The followers of Mattityahu, called Maccabees, fought bitter, yet intelligent battles that are studied today by military tacticians. After three years and thousands of lives, Judea was finally free.


Chanukah was a victory of few over many. Each Maccabee was a hero, essential to the victory.

One could think that, in those days, when the population of the world was so much smaller, a single individual would have more power to change the world. In fact, just the opposite is true. Technology and information has put enormous power in the hands of whoever wants it.

Just over fifty years ago, one madman came to the verge of destroying the world. His failure to develop atomic weapons on time is still inexplicable — it can only be attributed to the great mercies of the One Above who takes care of His world and promised it would always stand. Today we have seen that not even an army is needed, nor warheads or missiles — but only an obsessive willpower.

Such is the power of darkness. A thousand times over is the power of light, of any one of us to transform the entire world to good. A small child kissing the mezuzah on the door of her house, an act of kindness asking nothing in return, a sacrifice of convenience to benefit another — each of these things are as brilliant bursts of light in the nighttime sky. True, they make less noise. Rarely are they reported in the daily news. But while darkness passes as the shadows of clouds on a windy day, this light lasts forever and leaves no room for evil to remain.