While attending a Chanuka mesiba this week I was privileged to have heard a fascinating vort from R’ Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Rov, Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin which I would like to share with you.
One of the decrees that the Yevanim instituted was that the Jews should inscribe on the horn of their oxen ‘ein lanu chelek b’elokei Yisroel.’ Many ponder at this seemingly bizarre demand and ask, what was the point of this unusual mandate? The ban on learning Torah and not doing Bris milah one could at least understand that they were trying to prohibit us from performing mitzvos. But what were they trying to accomplish by this rather unusual command?
R’ Leib Gurwicz, zt’l, related how he was once in a museum in England and saw a display that showed the progression of baby bottles form over the centuries. He noticed that in previous generations one would feed a baby with glass bottle, further back with a metal can and previous to that all they actually fed the baby from a keren ha’shor; the horn of an ox. It was then that he understood what the Yevanim had intended to do.They wanted to make it known-and engrain in the Yidden from such a young age-that ein lanu chelek b’elokei Yisroel. While their minds were sponges and their souls impressionable, they tried to infuse in them that ein lanu chelek b’elokei Yisroel.
The Ponevitz Rov, zt’l, once said that an orphan is a child with no parent; an orphaned nation is nation with no children. If we do not train our children properly then we have no future. It’s up to us how we bring them up to assure us that the world will continue to function and that we have what to look forward to. Even the Greeks understood that and tried to uproot that by having us inscribe ein lanu chelek b’elokei Yisroel on our keren hashor.
A second pshat he mentioned was that back in the time of Chanukah, the livelihood of all of klal Yisroel was dependent from working the fields and growing fruit, wheat, plowing etc; agriculture was a main source of commerce. The yevanim wanted to obliterate the idea that a person’s livelihood and hatzlacha comes from Hashem. When people go out and plow they realize that it’s not solely their efforts that attribute to their success but rather from the tremendous siyata d’shmaya they receive from the Borei Olam . People had a lot of emunah in their parnassah even davening for good weather.What the yevanim had intended on doing was having the Jews write ein lanu chelek b’elokei Yisroel on the horns of their oxen because they would constantly see them while they were working and they had hoped it would deter them from reaching out and putting their complete trust and faith in the Ribono Shel Olam. They wanted to attack their source of income and the notion that a Jew’s sustenance comes from Hashem. They understood that the moment a person believes that Hashem has no involvement in their parnassah, is the moment of their downfall and that they will shortly slip.
There is so much to learn from this but most importantly is how we must protect our children. They are our future; they are the next generation; they will represent klal Yisroel in future doros. In addition, people go out and sell, make business dealings and become very successful in what they do. As they become better and better with their ability to succeed they become more arrogant towards people while taking full credit for their achievements. Should one c’v stoop that low, know it is a very dangerous line to cross. Doing so can only trigger a downfall and one must be extra cautious to avoid headed there.
Chanuka is a yom tov full of emunah; how a few people did the impossible-and achieved it. As hard as it is lets all try to strengthen our emunah and to be extra vigilant in how we are mechanech our children-for they will be the generation that will greet Moshiach and continue passing Torah down for generations to come.
May we all be zoche to greet Him much quicker, speedily in our days.