The list of closets goes on. Not all closets are the same but what is the same is the fear, isolation and lack of integrity we feel for hiding in them.
If we are to live a life of authenticity, fearlessness and connection – eventually we must throw open that door and come out of the closet once and for all. This is one more reason why we need Chanukah. It is a holiday all about coming out of the closet.
Chanukah, after all, is about identity. It’s about the Maccabees refusing to live in the closet (caves) because they were Jews. It’s about their refusal to succumb or bow down to the expectations or demands of their oppressor. It’s about their courage to stand up to a bully. It’s about deciding for themselves, not allowing another to decide for them, who they are, what they are, how they will live and what they will be.
And Chanukah is a reminder that there is something worse than confrontation or battle; there is something worse than loss of relationship, something even worse than death. Chanukah is a reminder that to live in the closet, to hide who we really are, our identity, our essence for fear of being found out, rejected or even killed is not a complete life and certainly no way to live.
This is why we do not place the menorah on our kitchen table with the shades drawn shut. Rather, we are duty bound to place those lights in the window. We are obligated to throw open those shades and proclaim to the world – this is who I am, this is my light,! Look upon or not but this is my light and I’m here to stay.
So, light your menorah.
Throw open your closet doors.
“Pirsumet haNisah”, we say in Hebrew – “publicize the miracle” by placing your light in the window to shine forth for the whole world to see.
The neighbors don’t like it? The community your in doesn’t accept it? The world around you rejects it? So, what!
You are a Maccabbee – a warrior of light.
This is who you are. This is why you are here. This is your battle so go on and shine your light. And as you do, you’ll inspire other Maccabee soldiers to come out of the closet and join you in the fight.
This is how we will win the war and transform the darkness into light.
This is the miracle of Chanukah.
You are the miracle of Chanukah.
Thank you for your light.
Rabbi Baruch HaLevi
Rabbi B is co-author of the new book: Revolution of the Jewish Spirit: How to Revive Ruakh in Your Spiritual Life, Transform Your Synagogue & Inspire Your Jewish Community [Paperback & Kindle] Rabbi Baruch HaLevi and Ellen Frankel, Jewish Lights Publishing (September 30, 2012)
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