Hanukkah, the festival of light, is celebrated in the season of darkness and has been a tradition commemorated by the Jewish people for over two millennia. The Hebrew word for Hanukkah means dedication- commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees, Israeli warriors, reclaimed it from the Greeks in the second century. We light the first candle on December 10 and for eight consecutive nights, we add an additional candle, increasing our ability to fight against darkness and despair.
This has been a year of darkness and despair for so many. But Hanukkah teaches that the proper response is not to curse the darkness but instead to increase the light. It is written in Proverbs 20:27 that “the human spirit is God’s candle.” Our tradition teaches that each of us has the capacity to bring light and goodness, holiness and compassion, into the world. Through our thoughts, actions and relationships, through our efforts to restore balance, justice and dignity in the world, we have the power to illuminate and inspire, even in the darkest of times. And when we shine, together our lights are more than the sum of their parts — like the blaze of the candles on a fully-illuminated menorah, shining in our windows proclaiming the miracle even now. Especially now.
I invite you to join me Sunday evening, December 13 at 6pm, for a virtual Hanukkah candle lighting, song session and latka sampling.
Free event, but please register to receive the zoom link. You can register here.
With blessings of hope and light to all — Rabbi Stacy