Here are the inspiring words of Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm of Chabad at CU as he welcomed the crowd to the CU Grand Menorah Lighting:
Welcome Provost Russ Moore, Professors, Community Members, friends, my dear friend Chanan, Director of Hillel, and of course the Students, who joined us this very special evening. On behalf of Chabad at CU, I say WELCOME and HAPPY CHANUKAH, and THANK YOU for coming out in this cold weather to celebrate light and warmth.
Our tradition shares a very beautiful insight into the meaning of the celebration we hold tonight . When our ancestors entered the holy temple after they had just won their freedom ,they searched and found but one jug of oil – I am sure many there thought …What can you seriously accomplish with one little bottle of oil. It’s a JOKE … Lets wait until the barrels of the temple are once again replenished with oil and then we will begin to light the Menorah – to be a Light amongst the nations.
Yet , my friends ,When you live in a world shrouded with darkness You can’t wait –You must light with whatever little oil you have . Our ancestors realized is the urgency of light.
We too might often think – The Day will come …. Some day ….I will share the talents I have been given – yet not yet ..wait till my jug is full –
I am still a student and so young… Wait till I have my career in order – wait till I figure out what I want to do with my life- Wait till I have financial security – then I will give – Wait till the kids get out of the house – then I will have time. I would love to be a light, to ignite the fire of my fellow Jew, yet I am not sure I have sufficient light myself.
This celebration tonight softly reminds us : That the world needs your little – what you might define as insignificant- oil and it needs it today – If you know how to pronounce Aleph teach it to a friend, If you have a Mitzvah that talks to you –welcome your friend to join along with you. And like the Menorah –don’t be shy, don’t be abashed – Light your lamp – Your Jewish Identity – proudly for all to share in its glow – And once you light it, you will be amazed to see how much light that small candle can make – Even this cold winter night can be melted into a sea of warmth.
Lera Yavich, student president of Chabad, introduced Provost Moore:
Good evening. I am honored to welcome our guest of honor this evening, Provost Russ Moore.
On behalf of the students here, I would like to thank you for the message you impart with your attendance at this Hanukah celebration. Hanukah celebrates the freedom of a people to practice their beliefs and maintain their unique culture. The beauty of a community is its diversity, when its members celebrate their varied traditions in a
spirit of unity and respect. Provost Moore, you are setting an example for all of us at CU Boulder, to be proud of our identities and respect our differences.
I would like to call upon CU Provost Russ Moore to light the shamash of the Menorah. The shamash is the candle that stands above the rest, and is used each night of Hanukah to kindle the flames that bring light and warmth to the surroundings. As Provost of CU, you bring light to the world by helping us all ignite our sparks of knowledge, and we can in turn share this knowledge and light.”