Judaism is not that complicated (regardless of how hard we try to complicate it). If I were to sum it up with a verse from the Torah it would be this. At the completion of the first day of Creation it says, “and there was evening, and there was morning, one day.” That is our mission as Jews and human beings; to be Godlike, to turn evening into morning, darkness into light, and curses into blessings.
When life’s darkness descends we must transform darkness into light. It’s not coincidence that Chanukah falls around the Winter Solstice (usually), the darkest time of the year. Darkness is all around us, descending earlier and earlier and becoming ever darker and more impenetrable as the nights drag on. It is a holiday which gives us the opportunity to embody this message not merely speak it. It reminds us symbolically of what so many people are experiencing physically, emotionally or spiritually. Anyone who has ever battled life’s darkness knows just how apt a cold, dark winter evening is in describing the dark night of the soul. And so, we light our menorah placing it in the window for all to see; every night increasing the light and diminishing the darkness.
We do this as a commitment to ourselves to keep moving through the darkness, whatever darkness we might be experiencing.
We do this for our family, community, for those outside our window – sending them a message that they are not alone, we are home, ready, wanting and willing to illuminate their path. Chanukah is about never giving up. Never losing hope knowing that yom echad – one day there will be morning, there will be blessing, there will be light once again.
May each and everyone of us illuminate someone else’s darkness.
May each and everyone of us have a year filled with less darkness and more light.
Happy Chanukah Rabbi B Rabbi Baruch HaLevi www.RabbiB.comwww.RevolutionOfJewishSpirit.comRabbi 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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