On the night of Hanukkah, while the Hanukkah lights burn in the Hanukiah, they softly tell an ancient and wondrous story, and if we pay attention and listen carefully, we, too, will hear it.
Many, many years ago, in the time of the Second Temple, the People of Israel were settled in their own land and wholeheartedly believed in the L-rd and kept all the laws of the Torah. Every morning and evening in the Temple, the Cohen would light the holy Menorah, the seven-branched candelabra. The oil-lamps burnt and radiated their holy light throughout the world.
In those days, the Greek Empire occupied the Land of Israel. The Greeks could not accept the fact that the Jews are not like all other peoples and that they have their own faith and their own way of life. The Greeks ordered the Jews to abandon their faith, to stop studying Torah and to stop keeping the laws of the Torah.
The Greeks entered the Temple and defiled all the vessels of pure oil that was dedicated to lighting the menorah. The Temple lights could not burn or radiate their special light.
The Hasmonean Rebellion
The Hasmonean, Matityahu (Matithias) and his sons saw this and declared a rebellion against the Greeks. They gathered all the Jews who remained faithful to their people and their faith, and went out to fight against the Greeks. The Hasmonean army was small and weak, but G-d helped them and they gained victory over the Greeks and expelled them from the Land of Israel.
When they entered the Temple and wanted to light the menorah, they saw that all the oil had been defiled and they could not use it to light the pure menorah.
The Miracle of the Oil
Suddenly a small container of oil was found that the Greeks had not seen and had not defiled. But the amount of oil was only enough to last one day. Miraculously, the tiny amount of oil lasted for eight days, until fresh and pure oil was brought.