The weather has been unseasonable warm and beautiful, and yet we are still living in the darkest time in our calendar year. The last few weeks have been particularly dark in our country. Three consecutive shabbats have been marked by gun violence and significant loss.
Chanukah is a time of light and hope. We celebrate miracles, freedom and military victories. The small band of Maccabees defeated the might Greek Assyrians. The little bit of oil that was only supposed to last for one night, lasted for eight. The Jewish religion could once again be practiced openly and freely.
For eight nights we light our Chanukiah, eat latkes and sufganiot (similar to Jelly donuts) and play dreidel. During Chanukah the mitzvah, the commandment, is not to actually light the Chanukah candles. The mitzvah is to see the lit candles burning. That is why people place their menorahs or chanukiot in the windows.
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We are Temple B’nai Or. We are the “Children of Light,” and we can bring light to people who live in darkness. Chanukah is a great time to give tzedakah, give food to the hungry, and jackets, and warm clothes to people in need, just to give a few suggestions. In doing so, we can bring hope and a little bit of freedom to people.
Chanukah is a time of joy and hope. At this dark season, we all could certainly use a little more of that.
Chag Urim Samei'ach, a very happy Chanukah to everyone,
Rabbi Miller and Cantor Galit.