Why don’t we know the name of this Chanukah hero?
Consider this teaching from Pirkei Avot:
אַנְטִיגְנוס אִישׁ סוֹכוֹ קִבֵּל מִשִּׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אַל תִּהְיוּ כַעֲבָדִים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין אֶת הָרַב עַל מְנָת
. לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס, אֶלָּא הֱווּ כַעֲבָדִים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין אֶת הָרַב שֶׁלֹּא עַל מְנָת לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס, וִיהִי מוֹרָא שָׁמַיִם עֲלֵיכֶם
(פרקי אבות א:ג)
Antigonus a man of Socho received [the oral tradition] from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: do not be like servants who serve the master in the expectation of receiving a reward, but be like servants who serve the master without the expectation of receiving a reward, and let the fear of Heaven be upon you. (Pirkei Avot 1:3)
Performing a mitzvah for no other reason other than for the sake of the mitzvah is called a mitzvah ‘lishmah”,’ for the sake of God’s name. How special it is when one does an act of goodness, not to receive credit or gain publicity but rather only to serve Hashem! Perhaps this was the intent of the anonymous hero of Chanukah!
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