My Hanukkah Present

I bought myself a Hanukkah present from Boulder Book Store (I do love to support our wonderful locally owned businesses!) of the magnificent two volume set recently published by Paul McCartney called “The Lyrics: 1956 – Present.”  It has the words to every song Paul has ever written, with the very personal and compelling stories behind them.  In the introduction to the book, Sir Paul tells a story, which he also told in the wonderful interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, which has really caught my attention this Hanukkah.

The Beatles were returning to Liverpool in a van from a gig somewhere; just the four of them and their roadie, when they were caught in a horrendous snow storm, a blizzard that knocked them off the road and flipped the van on its side.  They all clambered out to safety wondering what they were going to do, when one of them (Paul does not remember which) said calmly “something ‘ll happen.”  This phrase became a sort of mantra for McCartney when he faced the dark times in his life personally and professionally.

“Something will happen.”

On Shabbat at Bonai Shalom, I shared this story and related it to the Joseph narratives in the Torah; that somehow he ascends from the depths to the heights every time.  It seems like such a powerful message to me this year for Hanukkah.  “Only enough oil for one day, let’s light it up anyway. Something ‘ll happen.”  There is almost no limit to the darkness and fear in our world right now that can so easily take us over and extinguish any light of hope.  “The Omicron variant is now here just when we thought we were moving beyond Covid.  Something ‘ll happen.”  “The culture wars and breakdown of civility and the threats to democracy are too much to bear. Something ‘ll happen!”

So as we begin this amazing, audacious and beautiful Festival of Lights, we each have an invitation to increase the light each night of the holiday with the holy chutzpah and courage to light each candle as an act of defiance to all of the darkness out there, the fog of doubt and despair, with the audacity to bring in light with the intention that “something will happen.”

Wherever we find ourselves and whatever we carry with us, may we all bring in and receive the sacred light of this Holiday and allow it to dispel and overcome the darkness.

Chag Orim Sameach – A Joyful Light Fest to all
Rabbi Marc

About Rabbi Marc Soloway

Marc is a native of London, England where he was an actor and practitioner of complimentary medicine before training as a rabbi in London, Jerusalem and Los Angeles. He was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies at the American Jewish University in 2004 and has been the the spiritual leader at Bonai Shalom in Boulder ever since. Marc was a close student of Rabbi Zalman Schechter Shalomi and received an additional smicha (rabbinic ordination) from him in 2014, just two months before he died. He has been the host and narrator of two documentary films shown on PBS; A Fire in the Forest: In Search of the Baal Shem Tov and Treasure under the Bridge: Pilgrimage to the Hasidic Masters of Ukraine. Marc is a graduate of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality, a fellow of Rabbis Without Borders, has traveled to Ghana in a rabbinic delegation with American Jewish World Service and co-chair of the Rabbinical Council and national board member of Hazon, which strives to create more sustainable Jewish communities. In 2015, Marc was among a group of 12 faith leaders honored at The White House as “Champions of Change” for work on the climate. Marc is a proud member of Beit Izim, Boulder’s Jewish goat milking co-op.

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