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Reb Lisa's Message

December 13, 2023

Wow oh wow! What a fantastic Hanukkah party we had this past Sunday!

Together we enjoyed all the highlights of this festival of lights: latkes and doughnuts; music and singing; dancing and dreidel; schmoozing and noshing. It all felt so good and so right. It was a lovely afternoon of communal connection during a special time on the calendar–exactly how we should be spending our time!

For a couple of hours the darkness and heaviness of the outside world faded, like we pressed the pause button. And then I was reminded of what’s happening there, in Israel. 

When we sang Sivivon, I felt the intense relevance of this somewhat light hearted diddy all about spinning the dreidel. In this song we sing about the Hebrew letters on the dreidel and their significance: Nun, gimmel, hay, shin.

Nes Gadol Hayah Sham. A great miracle happened there.

Hanukkah commemorates the miracle of the oil and the seemingly impossible victory of a small band of Maccabees against a powerful king and his army. This reminds us that miracles are possible.

We retell our stories each year because there is potent medicine within them.

Nes Gadol Hayah Sham. A great miracle happened there.

We sing about that miracle. We play the traditional game that tells the story through the spinning of a wooden top. 

Each word is so important in this story.

Something happened. History. This is a story, with significant events and details, that we remember and tell again and again.

The miracle happened in Israel, for us here that is there

Not just a miracle, but a great one.

Nes Gadol Hayah Sham. A great miracle happened there.

A great miracle happened in Israel

And, we need a miracle now, our modern day version of this story. We need the miracle of a true and sustained peace, where all people in Eretz Israel can live in security, safety, and harmony. It is unclear now how we can arrive in this place. It may seem impossible. Those are the conditions for a miracle. We’ve been through many such conditions as a people.

What if we could change the verb tense and say a great miracle will happen there, or even a great miracle is happening there.

And then all the Hanukkahs in the future will include not only the miracle of the oil that lasted, but also the miracle of the great enduring peace. 

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