Chanuka took place during the Hellenistic oppression called Golus Yavan. Golus Yavan is referred to as the "exile of darkness" because it took away the light of Torah.

We call things that are negative - darkness. Evil is darkness. Chanuka expresses the victory of light over darkness. Which strategy is most successful for getting rid of darkness i.e. combatting evil - to burn away and destroy it or to create a greater light so that the darkness just vanishes?

Both methods are valid. The nature of the dispute between Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai is - do we favour the burning or the illuminating aspect of a flame? What is supposed to be the main thrust of a Jew ( which we learn from what happened on Chanuka)?

Beis Shammai learns that when we fight the negative corrupting aspect of the prevalent pagan world-culture e.g. through prayer, then we are steadily wiping out the influence on us. Thus, we should light the chanukia starting with 8 and reducing the number of candles each night - symbolising the destruction of evil in the world. On the other hand, Beis Hillel says we must raise ourselves spiritually and become the embodiment of morality in the world in order to battle against immorality. For this reason,(we pasken like Beis Hillel) we increase the number of candles each night to remind us to increase the light of Torah knowledge and understanding in the world, and we banish the darkness of evil by becoming "a light unto the nations". Happy Chanuka! (apapted from Rabbi Mendel Weinbach)

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