Tonight begins the festival of the miracle of Hanukkah. There are many interpretations and midrashim concerning the story of the Maccabees and that single bottle of oil that lasted eight days.
Hanukkah literally means “dedication” and over the next week, I invite you to consider what it means to be dedicated. My view of dedication during the week of Chanukah involves light. Light is a concept used in Judaism in almost all of our worship and holidays. Have you ever considered why light is the chosen metaphor?
The Torah teaches us that God created light on the first day of creation. However, a little later in the text it is described that the sun, moon, and stars were created on day 4. The question then is, if the sun, moon, and stars (sources of light) weren’t created until day 4, where did the light come from that is described in day 1?
Midrash Bereishit Rabbah 3:4 has an answer to this question. The light of the first day was not light as we know it. It wasn’t a “physical light” that comes from the sun. Rather, it was God’s inner light, light emanating from the creator himself.
What does it mean to imagine God’s light filling the world? Considering we are all made in God’s image, and have a piece of him/her within us, we should use our inner light to make a difference in the world.
I challenge you to dedicate yourself to bringing light into the darkness. It is no accident that Chanukah occurs during the darkest time of the year. We have the ability to brighten those days – for ourselves and for others.
Imagine how pleasant this world could be if we all used our inner light to repair the world. That would be the ultimate act of Tikkun Olam.
My family and I wish you and your loved ones a Chag Chanukah Sameach. I look forward to seeing you soon.