This week we celebrate a very special and joyous Jewish holiday in commemoration of the miracles which G-d preformed for the Jewish people many years ago. Like all Jewish holidays, there is the same reoccurring theme: they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!
We celebrate our victory over the Greeks by lighting the Menorah. We put the menorah in or near a window to let everyone know we are celebrating the Festival of Lights in honor of the miracle of the oil. When the Greeks destroyed the Temple they smashed and desecrated everything they could find, yet when the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple and began the work of re-sanctification, they found one small cruse of oil, enough to light the menorah for one day. They blessed the oil and lit the menorah and sent someone on the eight-day trip to obtain more pure oil.
The oil that was sufficient for only one day lasted eight, and that miracle is part of what we commemorate each year with the lighting of the menorah.
We also light the menorah to represent our ability to illuminate the darkness of night as well as the darkness of ignorance, hatred, bigotry, and other evils. We are all candles, each of us endowed with the awesome ability to inspire another. By serving as a candle, each of us can purify and brighten the world around us. It’s not difficult to be a candle in the darkness, you can make the world brighter with a smile, a kind word, or a good deed at Chanukah and all year long.
I hope to see you all tonight as we celebrate Chanukah on ice at WinterSkate in Louisville. Starting at 4pm we can skate to Chanukah music, drink hot cocoa, and light the menorah to honor the Maccabees’ defeat of the Greeks and add some more light to the world.
Chany Scheiner, Program Director, Chabad-Lubavitch of Boulder County