A Raging Menorah
Who could possibly argue against the idea that when our light increases there is more goodness in the world?
Yet centuries ago, there was a rabbinic debate over this very thing. In a famous argument on how to light the Hanukkah candles, Beit Shammai said: On the first day one kindles eight lights and gradually decreases the number of lights until, on the last day, they kindle one light. And Beit Hillel said: On the first day one kindles one light, and then gradually increases the number until, on the last day, they kindle eight lights.
Today we follow the path of Beit Hillel, raising ourselves spiritually by adding light to the world. It’s exactly what I see today in Jewish Atlanta. Each day our community organizations are sharing ideas and resources with each other as Jewish HomeLife did to provide COVID-19 testing at our day schools; as Serve the Moment volunteers do by virtually visiting older adults at The Breman Home and Berman Commons; and as our North Metro synagogues are doing to create Hanukkah celebrations together.
Each organization alone is a glimmer, but together they are a raging menorah, lighting the way to a brilliant collective future. Hanukkah teaches us that candle by candle, mitzvah by mitzvah, we really can overcome the darkness and change the world.
Eric Robbins is president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.