MONKEYS LIGHT THE LIGHTS
Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita
In 1829, amidst great fanfare a huge Golf Course was opened for the very first time. Created in the midst of the arid landscape of India, the Royal Calcutta Golf Course was graced with the most lovely of conveniences and its well-groomed grass softly swayed in the breeze. Created mostly to entertain the British community that lived and worked in this far corner of what was then the British Empire everything was done to ascertain that every inch of the course throbbed with reminders of the lush courses of Scotland and the rest of the ‘Mother Country’. The designers made just one small mistake, in all their planning they failed to notice that they were building on top of a huge natural monkey habitat. Within minutes of the first white ball slicing through the still air, the monkeys came out of their trees and started to grab the white spheres, playing their own games. The humans tried to contain the problem, they built fences, only to see the monkeys flying over them, then they sought to capture the miscreant creatures with nets, which were quickly ripped apart. Monkeys are pretty clever at playing human games, and the members to the prestigious club were soon at their wits end. Finally the membership did the only thing they could, they changed the rules of the game. From that day till now, in that one course, the rule book says, “one must play the ball wherever the monkey’s place it.”
This can be seen as a rule of life. Things get complicated, at the blink of the eye everything can change. A Yied must learn one thing, Hashem knows where and who you are, and wherever He places you, it’s for your good and it is the place from whence you must “play”.
The epoch of Chanukah speaks to the need to take upon ourselves that which Hashem gives us and create from this illumination.
The Mevaser Tov tells us:
The commentaries explain that the last jar of pure oil had been hidden many generations earlier by the great Shimon Hatzadik, who was endowed with a spirit of Divine inspiration and foresaw the need they would have for pure oil. If so, why did he need to hide the oil in a place unknown to anyone else? Could he not have entrusted it to the Kohanim to guard, generation after generation, until the need would arise? Furthermore, why did he not hide enough oil to last for eight nights?
He seemed to have deliberately orchestrated a situation in which the Kohanim had to struggle again and again with hopelessness. A hopeless fight against the Greeks, a hopeless search for oil, a hopeless attempt to make one night’s worth of all burn for eight – and then, against all expectations, the miracle of Chanukah arose.
We all are feeling a sense of this helplessness in today’s golus. The perception of unease is crushing for many and we all are getting ever more weary. However, Kaveuchal the Eibishter is with us. We are being asked to play the ball from where Hashem has placed it. It is where it its for a divine purpose, and its potential for illumination is beyond anything we can ever measure.
When I was a youngster I had the merit to witness great Tzaddikim light their menorahs. The sanctity of those moments created the light that formed the miracles of Klall Yisroel’s rebuilding. Those heroes, standing in a strange world, saw beyond the wicks and candles. They were lighting for a promise of our tomorrow. We, the children had no concept of how unique those times were. Everything we have today was seeded in those moments.
Now we light in a different darkness, and seek new miracles. The ball is bouncing towards us, and we are being called to focus on this our challenge. Der Eibishter will send us fresh new miracles and hopefully allow us to be zocher to be the generation that greets the Moshiach. Amein