Today’s daf 21 is famous for it deals first with the type of oil for the hanuka menorah, then the process of lighting of the menorah, the famous debate between Hillel and Shamai of whether we start lighting the menorah with 8 candles (shammai) or 1 candle (Hillel) and work 8-1 (shammai) or 1-8 (Hillel). Then the Talmud famously asks : What is Hanukaa? The Talmud tells us the story of the battle with the greeks and the jug of oil.
The Talmud then says “the year after, it was instituted as Yom Tov with Hallel and Praise.” At this point The Great Magid Shiur Saul Lubetsky asked a simple question. What is missing.? There is no mention of lighting the Menora- just Hallel and praise. The class protested that the Talmud just spent nearly a page dealing with lighting. Saul is right.The answer is very profound. At the time Hanuka was instituted, the Temple stood and the Menorah in the Temple was lit.
It is hard to envision a Hanuka celebration or holiday without lighting a Menorah. The truth is that the holiday and lighting are synonomous to us. It is so deeply engraved in our consciousness and has seeped into popular culture that even Rugrats and Snoopy light Hanuka candles.
The SD would like to weigh in. We constantly have re-imagine and re-examine are service of gd The question posed is really novel to the SD. How could we have a Hanuka without a Menora? Nowadays when we sit in our homes due to the pandemic rather than go to shul, visit the sick or the hospitals, shun other people- all of which is so essential to our Jewish life and values we are forced to re-examine our avodas hashem. We have to find a way to connect with Hashem without 0ur normal structures and systems. A Hanuka without a Menora is a symbol for us that we must rethink in these days how we will serve Hashem