Illuminating the Night

A Chanukah Message

December 14, 2015
Chanukah light

We light 44 Chanukah candles during the longest and coldest nights of the year. We light these candles after dark, during the period when the moon is waning and reflecting the least light.  As such, these candles are lit during the darkest part of the day, month and year.  We light these Chanukah candles for eight days. These candles do not eliminate the darkness, they merely temper the darkness. These Chanukah candles temper the darkness by temporarily casting their illumination into dark spots.

During Chanukah, I light one small candle on the first night. As I see my candle shining a light into the darkness, I realize that I am making a "crack" in the darkness.  I realize that I need not banish the darkness. I am offering hope, by piercing a hole in the invulnerability of the darkness with my candle. I am making a difference.

I triumphantly light two candles on the next night; and once more, I look at the light and at its reflection. I realize that I am shining a light into dark areas now even more triumphantly. I light three  candles the next night  and so on.  

These candles teach us that try as we might, we cannot totally banish challenges from our life.  We all experience dark moments and challenges.  Part of maturity is growing into the realization that we cannot banish the long, dark, cold nights, but we not exempt from the obligation to shine light into the dark areas or from kindling the candles.  We attempt to temper each other's dark moments through offering the light of hope and support to one another.

As I light the 44 candles this Chanukah, I anticipate igniting the spark of hope in our seemingly dark world—for myself, my family and our collective Jewish community.

Chag Chanukah Sameach!