The special Torah reading for Chanukah comes from the end of Parshas Naso, in the book of Bamidbar. Each day we read of the korbanos offered by one of the Nesi’im during the Mishkan’s dedication ceremonies in the desert. The obvious question is why is this the Torah reading designated for Chanukah? After all, the historical events being recounted in the special keriah happened in the month of Nissan, shortly before Pesach, not in the month of Kislev or Teves!
Although not linked by actual dates, the events described in these verses, and the holiday of Chanukah, are thematically connected. The Sages who established this as the laining for Chanukah understood that the essence of Chanukah is the dedication of, and to, holiness. We read of the Nesi’ims’ dedicating the Mishkan and Mizbeach because on Chanukah the Chashmoniam rededicated the Mizbeach and Mikdash that were defiled by the Greeks. With their idolatrous practices, the Greeks invaded and desecrated the holy confines of the Mikdash.
Perhaps this is the message that our Sages would like us to learn during the Festival of Lights: dedication and consecration are not isolated, one-time events. Whether on the national or personal level, dedication and consecration are meant as continuous affairs. As we say in the prayer of Al haNissim, ‘Bayamim hahaim bazman hazeh – In their days and in this time,’ we face similar challenges of struggling to maintain and constantly reinvigorate our bond with the Holy. May Chanukah give us the courage to recognize our abilities and stay the course in our efforts for holy living.
Have a great Shabbos, a Chodesh Tov, and a beautiful Chanukah.