Chag Urim Sameach! Happy festival of Light to you all!
Tonight is the fourth night of Chanukah, which marks the halfway point through this multi day holiday. It is the night in which light and dark are balanced. The light of the four illuminated candles is balanced by the dark of the candles yet to be kindled.
Then there is the uniqueness of the fifth night of Chanukah (tomorrow) where the light overpowers the dark. This reminds me of a powerful teaching by Maimonides (12th century Spanish Rabbi and scholar). He invites us to imagine that right now, at this very moment, the entire world is perfectly balanced between good and evil. The very next action that any one person takes (like me, or like you), will tip the balance one way or the other. With that knowledge, what will we choose? How will we act?
During dark times and challenging chapters, it often seems that we have little agency. Do our actions even matter? Are they felt in the world?
Chanukah empowers us to access our inner Maccabee. We summon the courage to act. The image of tipping the global balance toward good by our next action and the image of the light of the fifth night overpowering the darkness reminds us that we can affect change in the world.
May we all have the courage to take that one action, to bring that extra bit of light. It makes a difference, even if we don’t see it. May we believe in the miracle of our one action to dispel darkness.