1 Minute With Yourself 691: Chanukah Hindsight

The Talmud explains the miracle of the small flask of oil that was found sealed with the seal of the Kohen Gadol as the reason for the annual celebration of Chanukah. The Gemara concludes the story by saying: “In another year, some time later, they established these days as a festival to say Hallel and give thanks.”

Why did the Sages delay the establishment of a holiday to another year?

One of the answers given is that although they had regained control of the Holy Temple and purified it and rededicated the rituals, the war with the Syrian-Greeks continued for another 20 years after the miracle of the oil. This would explain the delay but does not explain why the Gemara would bother to mention it.

The lesson is: Don’t jump to conclusions! One should not rush to evaluate the significance of an event until ample time has passed to put things in perspective.

When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963, emotionally charged legislators all over the country started to rename airports, boulevards and schools after the deceased president. West Virginia almost changed the name of the state in the days following the murder. The proposal was soon forgotten. In light of revelations about the fallen leader and his life and politics, many might want to rescind the emotionally motivated changes that were made immediately after his passing.

After the Gulf War the approval rating of the first President Bush was sky-high, but several months later he was out of a job.

We must all realize that life moves very quickly and that what seems significant today may still be important tomorrow — or it may fade quickly from our consciousness. Good wine requires an aging process. Successful decisions are often made only after good ideas are given the time to “cook slowly.”

Only after time places events in perspective can one be certain that one’s evaluation of their significance is correct. Don’t jump to conclusions. Allow time for consideration, and your reaction will turn out to be proportionally correct more often than not. One can never know how change will affect one’s opinions, but one thing is certain: time will certainly change your perspective.


Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement.