Parasha Inspiration – Shabbat Hanukkah

The Maftir portion for this week’s parsha is from Numbers 7. This chapter deals with the dedication of the Mishkan, the tabernacle. The Haftarah for Shabbat Hanukkah is from Zechariah 2, which is Zechariah’s vision regarding the dedication of Ezra’s Temple. Hanukkah, of course, is the festival commemorating the dedication of the 2nd Temple, after the defilement by the Seleucid Greeks. The theme is quite obvious, the dedication of the Temple.

All 3 dedications were times of ecstatic joy. These dedications meant that Israel could engage in the process of worshiping Hashem, as Hashem commanded us, by bringing sacrifices and offerings to Hashem. These dedications meant that Israel could more closely follow Torah. Without these dedications, Israel is in exile. Even the sages of the Galilee, who redacted Midrash Rabbah, and the Talmud Yerushalmi, understood that until the Temple is rebuilt, Israel remains in exile.

So in this joyous Festival of Hanukkah, we celebrate the dedications of the past, but there is more to it. There is another dedication coming. The Temple of Hashem will be rebuilt. Yeshua the Messiah is coming. Arguments can be made that the Temple will be rebuilt before Yeshua returns or that Yeshua himself will oversee the rebuilding of the Temple. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Either way, Yeshua is returning, and the dedication of a brand-new Temple will be celebrated.

This Hanukkah let us not only remember the dedications past, but let us look forward to the great dedication yet to come. Yeshua will reign over all the earth from his throne in the Temple of Hashem. May it be soon, and in our days. Shabbat shalom.

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Rabbi Steven Bernstein

Steve was born on Lag B’Omer in Ann Arbor, MI but was raised in Gainesville, FL. The son of two University of Florida professors, he excelled in the sciences in school. In addition to his normal academic studies, he pursued his Jewish education studying with many Rabbis and professors of Judaic Studies from the University including visiting Rabbis such as Abraham Joshua Heschel and Shlomo Carlebach.