Chag Hanukkah Sameach! That’s right, Hanukkah is on the way. Erev Hanukkah, the first night of the Festival of Lights, is this coming Sunday, December 18th. We have a wonderful community party planned that evening. I hope you all can make it.
This is the time of year to shine a light. To shine your light. The Talmud tells us that by lighting the hanukkiah (menorah) we fulfill the mitzvah of pirsumei nisa, “publicizing the miracle.” What is the miracle? There are at least two. Of course there is the miracle of the cruse of oil that lasted for eight nights when there was only enough oil for one night.
There is also the miracle of accessing strength and perseverance during dark times. It takes something beyond ourselves to summon courage in the face of extreme adversity, hatred, and oppression. This is the miracle the band of Macabees experienced.
To display these miracles, it is customary to make the menorah visible by placing it in a window. Doing so allows those outside to see the light and what it represents.
Many are making their lights even more visible this year by hosting public candle lighting events–outside in parks, outdoor cafes, neighborhood corners, and more.
With the alarming rise in antisemitism it is important that we stand tall and connect in strength. We must not cower or hide. We must not be afraid to be who we are. Now is the time to make our lights visible and to be proud and strong as a Jewish community.
So, it’s time to get out your menorah(s), make sure you have your hanukkah candles, and find a prominent and visible place to place your menorah. May our lights shine brightly and dispel the darkness that surrounds us.