The Greeks forbid the Jews to perform three mitzvot in their quest for Jewish assimilation: Brit Milah, Shabbat, and Rosh Chodesh.
Brit Milah and Shabbat appear obvious as to why they would be forbidden to Jews: Outward rituals that appear different from the surrounding world. Rosh Chodesh is different.
The first Mitzvah the Jewish people are given is kiddush hachodesh, the sanctification of the new moon. We know that we bless the new moon when only a sliver appears in the sky. Yet, we are cognizant that the moon will grow full. The same is true within our history as Jews.
While there are times when we may feel like a sliver of light in the dark abyss, the message of the moon is renewal, rebirth, and regeneration. If the Greeks could stop our rebirth, they would in essence cease our existence.
We will read in the Haftorah tomorrow, “Not by might, and not by power, but by spirit alone.” Spirit is the key to renewal.
And so this Shabbat, after you light your Chanukah candles, and after you light your Shabbat candles, go outside and look up at the sky. Search for the sliver of the moon, and know that our spirit is our strength. Celebrate the natural miracle of God’s creation: The small spark in the sky, the small spirit in our soul. This Chanukah, celebrate the miracle of renewal: Renewal of our souls, renewal of our selves, and the renewal of our people.