The word “chanukah” means “dedication.” Historically, our holiday is a celebration of religious freedom – freedom of the Jewish people’s right to practice our own religion in our own country in safety and security, peace and harmony. We celebrate the rededication of our Temple in Jerusalem which had been desecrated by the Greek army in 165 BCE. The actual ritual celebration evolved to become a “Festival of Lights.” With that understanding in mind, the traditional greeting for Chanukah is: “Chag Urim Sameach – Wishing you a happy Festival of Lights.”
(For a more complete description of Chanukah – please see the Chanukah Resources section below.)
There are those who still threaten to fracture our world today. Every day, we read examples of xenophobia (fear of foreigners or “the other”), antisemitism, hatred, violence, war, bloodshed, refugees with nowhere to go, hunger, poverty, homelessness, racism. The list of maladies afflicting us seems never-ending.
Yet, Chanukah is all about hope. The flames on the candles remind us that all it takes is one spark to light a flame: a flame that leads to justice, a flame that leads to healing and wholeness. One flame in the darkness can bring great light, great warmth to a very dark place: one spark of righteous deeds can inspire others to do the same.
This Chanukah, this Festival of Lights, as we kindle our Chanukah candles beginning on Sunday, December 18th, I hope that we can dedicate ourselves anew to bringing justice, hope and light to our broken world.
Let each of us be that spark or flame that ignites others to join in repairing our world: “ani v’atah n’shaneh et ha’olam” – together, you and I can change the world.
And we’ll work together to keep the flame alive, as Peter, Paul and Mary sang: “Don’t Let the Light Go Out”
Please join us for our special dinner, Chanukah service and candle lighting next Friday, December 23rd. Click HERE to register for the dinner. Jill please add dinner registration.
Beginning, this Sunday evening, December 18th, TBS will light our large Chanukiyah in the Old Town Orange Circle at 6:00 pm each night of Chanukah. We invite you to join us for our blessings, songs and mini-sufganiyot (jelly donut holes).
Wishing all of you a Chag Urim Sameach – a light-filled and joyous Chanukah!
Chanukah Blessings – with a printable version and an MP3 (Candles are added to the chanukiya – menorah for Chanukah – from right to left, but are kindled from left to right. The newest candle is lift first. On the Shabbat of Chanukah, we light the Chanukah candles first and then the Shabbat candles.)