Here it is, Hanukah. It’s the only ancient Jewish holiday that has real historical roots, the miraculous story of a revolution for religious freedom, inspiring future generations in their struggles against tyranny and oppression.
Worried that the celebration would focus on the military victory of the Maccabees, the Talmudic Rabbis chose the selection from the prophet Zechariah for the holiday’s Haftarah reading. It describes the message of Judaism: “Not by might and not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord” (4:6) who has the ultimate power.
Many of us are looking to Judaism for deeper levels of meaning. The Hanukah story can help connect us to each other. As it says in Proverbs: “The human spirit is God’s candle.” It is through igniting that spirit within ourselves that we can bring light into the world—the light of love, compassion, truth and justice.
As we kindle the lights, let us try to make a commitment to also rededicate ourselves and remember that we are also the burning flames which must never go out. We need power and strength in order to bring change. May we all find the fortitude to illuminate a new beginning, and use that light for good, to search together to repair and rebuild and to bind our hearts to one another. And together, we will light the path to new miracles.