Special reinforcement in the study sessions in all the yeshivos is being urged for the duration of Chanukah, through many practical methods, including limiting the usually accepted vacation time. Special emphasis is being made on intensifying the study in these times – times that are so difficult for the yeshiva world which is being ceaselessly harassed and persecuted, in general, and particularly with regard to army mobilization.
Gedolei Yisroel have called upon each individual to strengthen himself in study. This message was strongly urged in a chizuk talk given by HaRav Shteinman, who said: “We are standing before the days of Chanukah. The details of the miracle are familiar to all, where the Greeks sought to sever us from the Torah and its commandments and issued decrees forbidding Jews to study Torah, keep Shabbos and so on. The Jewish Hellenists also made problems, and it was necessary to fight against them all with great self sacrifice. But Hashem saved us from their hands through Chashmonai and his sons who went forth into battle against thousands and tens of thousands.
“Why were those decrees issued against us? The Bach writes (Siman 670) that the reason for those orders against us was because the Jews had become lax in the avodoh, so that Heaven decreed that this avodoh be abolished by their own hands, as it were. We can therefore infer that any harsh edict is a result of becoming lax in a corresponding area which brings in its wake more laxity. The Power of Evil, the sitra achra, becomes empowered by the negligence and is able to make it all the more difficult for Jews to keep the mitzvos of that nature. Indeed, the Jews eventually reach a point where they have to be moser nefesh to correct and counteract the initial laxity.”
He added painfully, “In these days, the Torah world finds itself in a precarious position and Torah itself needs chizuk. The more we fortify ourselves, the better is our chance of overcoming our difficulties. We must therefore utilize this opportune time as best we can and certainly not become lax, especially in those places where the regular study sessions are interrupted. We must see to it that not a moment is wasted but rather exploited for study and concentrated prayer. May this merit stand us by to save us from the hands of those who seek to diminish Torah in the midst of our people, and hasten the ultimate Geulah, speedily and in our times. Amen!”