On Sunday evening, Nov. 28, the Jewish people worldwide will come together to light the first candle of Hanukkah — the Festival of Lights.
This educational and uplifting holiday is about the struggle for justice in the face of overwhelming obstacles, the determination and courage in a period of uncertainty. It is an exceptional time to reflect on the triumph of liberty over tyranny, the rejection of persecution, and on the shining miracles that can happen even in our darkest moments.
The ancient Maccabees’ dedication to their credence was impeccable, despite their number in people and in means, and thus the almighty saw to it that they emerged victorious. Their small beam of hope became a huge flame of triumph. The light of faith that burned continuously in their hearts, as well as the Holy Temple in Jerusalem thousands of years ago, still shines bright in Jewish homes and synagogues today.
The radiance of the Menorah serves as a sign of our Creator’s blessings, of the arduous efforts and countless sacrifices made by Jewish people over the centuries, for the values of faith and freedom.
Each night of the Festival of Lights, an additional candle is added to the Menorah increasing the glow brighter and stronger, signifying the ascension of faith and hope. The candles represent illumination, radiating a light that inspires others with the belief that our Heavenly father is the Creator and ruler of the world.
Hanukkah reminds us of our ability to overpower the physical and spiritual darkness we encounter. Often, we feel this dimness when we are surrounded by negativity or lack spirituality in our lives. Lighting candles gives power to the inner voice deep inside us that insists that we are an important part of our Creator’s plan. We are never alone because our connection to our Creator is universal. The Almighty is present in our homes, in our businesses and in our hearts. He is part of us, thus, we are always connected.
Like the biblical Joseph, we should never fear uncertainty or feel abandoned. We stay connected through our prayers, our dreams, our inner spark and our faith.
It has been said, that a small amount of light can remove a lot of darkness. At this time, when the world is still in so much confusion, we all have an obligation to light the candles of the Menorah and to be a genuine beacon of courage and hope.
So during the Festival’s eight days, let us all be inspired by the light that is believed to bring about wonders and overcome darkness. I invite everyone to join us at Congregation Beth Tikvah in Wantagh, as we celebrate Hanukkah with a memorable program for the entire family. There will be food, heartfelt music and many thanks offered to the Almighty for the continued blessings and miracles he bestows upon us.
May the lights of Hanukkah enlighten your homes and warm your hearts, and may this holiday season be a time of hope, joy, unity and peace for all mankind. Amen.
–Rabbi Moshe Weisblum
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