The war of the Maccabees against the Greeks was, first and foremost, a war between light and darkness.
The little cruse of holy oil, that was hidden away in the Temple and was so hard to find, symbolizes the challenge our ancestors faced: to reveal the light.
We relive this need and this lesson every year on Hanukkah, by lighting an additional light on each of the eight days of the holiday.
But what is light?
Light is one of the first phenomena of which a human being is aware.
It is the first thing a newborn baby discovers.
Light straddles two universes: it is both real and symbolic at the same time.
It lies midway between the material and the spiritual, and forms the most basic and natural tie that binds them.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz