As we gather to celebrate the festival of Chanukah, let us reflect on the profound words of Rabbi Laura Geller: “”The miracle wasn’t that the oil lasted an additional seven days, but rather that those ancestors lit the first wick at all, without being certain that the light would last long enough to complete the rededication of the Temple. The miracle was that they took the chance, a risk, a leap of faith. They took the first step even though they were not sure they had enough resources to succeed. What is the real miracle of Chanukah? It is the miracle of human courage that empowers us to take risks for the future even in our imperfect, uncertain world. It is the courage, even in the darkest of times, to create our own light.”
In the flickering flames of the menorah, we find a timeless symbol of resilience and hope. Chanukah is a reminder that within each of us resides the strength to confront uncertainty with bravery. Like our ancestors who kindled the first wick amidst doubt, we too possess the power to embark on new journeys, to take risks, and to embrace the unknown with faith.
As we light each candle, let it be a testament to our collective courage. May the warmth of the Chanukah lights fill our hearts with optimism, guiding us through challenges and inspiring us to be architects of our destiny. In the face of darkness, let us be the bearers of light, forging a path of hope and possibility. Happy Chanukah, a celebration of the miracles within us and the courage to create our own light.
David B. Helfand is the engagement rabbi at Shearith Israel, a master community builder, a passionate experiential educator, and gifted storyteller.