“Then, when the faithful had fallen, when the weak were beginning to falter, when all that spelled Israel seemed lost — then arose Mattathias the son of Jochanan, the priest, and his sons. He did not count the number of those who were like-minded… He rose up to fight against this devastating frenzy; and caused the weakness of the faithful to be victorious…
“And just as God… caused the light of Israel to be rekindled by the flaming spirit which still shone pure in the breast of one man, so did He declare by a visible symbol that in time of desolation He watches over and is the spirit of Israel. …But only one cruse of oil, enough to last one day, was found still undefiled. …
“Each year, when the Chanukah season recurs, lights are kindled in every home of Israel, and by every son of Israel… Thus the darkened courses of Israel are lit up by this message: ‘The spiritual light of Israel will never be dimmed.’ And even if round about you everything becomes defiled by the oppression of the time, so long as the light remains pure within the confines of only one house or within the breast of only one man, live on joyfully… for the spiritual life of Israel is saved: God watches over it, and even by the light of one man He rekindles it anew.”
— Rav S.R. Hirsch, Horeb, Chapter 34, p. 246 “Chanukah and Purim”
The 13 blessings that comprise the core of the Shemone Esrei may be thought of as two columns or iterations of six, unified ultimately by the thirteenth bracha of Shema Koleinu. Abu-Darham shows us how the text of the prayer leads us through a process of expanding our awareness of our needs to include other individuals, and even the community and nation as a whole — an expanding sense of self, helping us toward the aim of fully being dedicated to the service and will of God, i.e., where His will (the ultimately expanded sense of self) is what we feel as our own will.
This leads us towards all that is Tov, good — becoming fully expressed in our potential, in our creation as human beings.
Changing reality by aligning our will with Hashem’s.
"One should open with praise of Hashem before asking for his needs" (Brachos 32).
“In truth, Sefer Tehillim has more zemiros than tefillah. The difference is as follows: when it comes to tefillah one must try to daven at an eis ratzon [an opportune time], whereas Tehillim has the power to create an eis ratzon.”
— Rav Yitzchak Hutner, Pachad Yitzchak al Succos, Maamar 70