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A Message About Hanukkah

12/10/2020 01:08:56 PM


Hanukkah, the festival of lights, begins tonight. Each night of the holiday, we are offering outdoor and virtual opportunities to make B’nai Torah part of the celebration. You will see the details below, but as we enter this unusual Hanukkah, I want to offer a thought about the miracle of the Hanukkah oil and our own personal refueling.

One of the first times Rabbi K was a passenger in my minivan, he was traumatized that we were heading down the highway with fuel light on. Eventually, the gauge hit empty, and the “estimated miles left” tracked down to zero as we continued our journey. As it turned out, we arrived safely, but it was no miracle. I knew from experience that that van could run for a good 5-10 miles in that condition. Of course, you can’t do that for long, and it can even be bad for your engine.

This year, many have expressed to me that they can relate to the feeling of running on empty. Some have gone too long without being close to family and friends. Others hanker to come to services like they used to be, sit down in a favorite restaurant or travel to a favorite destination. Some can’t wait for kids to go back to school, or simply lack the attention span for yet another zoom. Others are tired of negative news, and most of us can’t wait for election season to be over.

Hanukkah has an important lesson for those running on empty. The Maccabees were certainly in that position in a metaphorical sense. They had fought months of war against a numerically superior enemy, with many losses and sacrifices. They were exhausted. Of course, as the story goes, they were literally running on empty since they had only enough holy oil to let the menorah burn for a single day, and it would take eight days to make more. And yet, our ancestors found the strength to cleanse the Temple and rededicate it, and the courage to light a light that, by reason, could not possibly last.

Hanukkah reminds us that just when it seems like we are out of fuel, even a drop can keep us going. This Hanukkah, we know that even when times are at their darkest, fresh oil is coming. We just have to muster the patience and courage to hold out a bit longer and keep a small flame of hope going to bring light to ourselves and others until we have a chance to refuel.  

I hope that this Hanukkah refills your tank and helps you bring light to all who are dear to you.

On behalf of myself, our B’nai Torah staff and lay leadership and our families, let me wish you a Happy Hanukkah!

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784