This week, Jewish homes everywhere will be suffused with light. We will kindle the Chanukah lights, and they will remind us, like they do every year, of the great miracles that G-d did for our ancestors in those days, and for us in our time as well.
The Chanukah candles are also lit in synagogues, businesses and public places. The reason for lighting them in public is, as our sages say, for pirsumei nisa—to publicize the miracle. During the week of Chanukah we try our utmost to spread the message of G-d's salvation, how He gave strength to the Hasmonaim to defeat the Greeks, and caused a small vial of oil to burn for eight days. By putting up Chanukah menorahs in public places – large ones, even giant ones – we make sure that the Chanukah miracle is known far and wide.
Why, indeed, is it so important to publicize the miracle? Is G-d in need of our promotion?
The truth is that it is not G-d but we who need the promotion. Each time we retell the story of Chanukah, in the most public and wide-spread manner possible, we reiterate how grateful we are to G-d for His many miracles and kindnesses. "To thank and praise Your great name," as we say in our prayers each night of Chanukah.
Giving thanks is an expression of our faith. We thank G-d because we know that only He could have granted us victory. Only He could have allowed a small vial of oil to burn for eight days.
This faith is the secret of our strength. Not just our strength to survive difficult times, but the strength to endure our daily battles and struggles. Life by its very nature is filled with challenges and upheavals, and our faith in G-d gives us the strength to meet those challenges head-on and surpass them.
Many of us have experienced events in our lives that can only be described as miracles. Whether it was recovery from a serious illness, or avoiding a terrible accident – these occasions make us take a deep breath and thank G-d, the source of all blessing, for watching out for us.
It is important to recognize that G-d is behind all the miracles that we experience, and not only the miracles. Even those events that seem routine, the small daily successes, are all thanks to G-d's continuous kindness and intervention. That is why we mention every day in our prayers, "For your daily miracles for us." Publicizing the miracles G-d does for us is one of the ways we show gratitude to Him. Each night of Chanukah, we light the candles and thank G-d publicly.
Particularly in our generation, the final generation of exile and the first of Redemption, it is essential for us to thank G-d for all He has done for us. The Talmud relates that there were times that G-d planned to bring the Redemption, but held off only because the Jews did not thank Him properly for the miracles. Naturally, we do not wish to repeat the mistakes of the past. We will publicize our gratitude for the miracles G-d has done, and thus we will merit the true light, of the true and complete Redemption.