A Chanukah Message from Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal

A Chanukah Message from Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal

Read community insights, advice and perspectives during Chanukah.

Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal serves Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Buckhead.

Publicizing the Miracle

When we think of the miracle of Chanukah, we often think of a small amount of oil lasting for eight days, a tale that comes from our rabbinic tradition found in the Talmud.  Interestingly, soon after the story of the oil, the rabbis turn their attention to another important aspect of the holiday – publicizing the miracle. Our neighbors are much better at letting us know their religious commitments and upcoming winter holidays by the lights on their house and decorations on their yard.

For us Jews, we are content with our quiet, out-of-sight celebration tucked away deep in our homes and away from public display.  The Talmud encourages something different.  For our sages, publicizing the miracle of Chanukah was part of the experience.  We are supposed to share our light, placing the chanukiah in the window, by the door, in our courtyard.  But we often don’t.  It stays tucked away.  What about publicizing the miracle?  I know we like to keep a low profile, but this entire year has been a low profile.  We have been hiding, locked in our homes, kept in the dark.  This year’s Chanukah is the most important year to share our light with others. Let your chanukiah shine. The light you share is the true miracle of the season.

Laurence Rosenthal is the senior rabbi at Ahavath Achim Synagogue and president of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association.

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