Dec 3, 2015

A Channukah Note: Glimpses of Light

A Channukah Note:
Glimpses of Light
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Dear Chevreh,

It is just a few days before Channukah, and yet another intense week has unfolded. I'm sure you've been attuned to things happening in the world, too many to count. This won't be a message pointing to headlines. There are more than enough sources for information in our lives, and the world remains too much with us. Our precious Jewish communities are here for more than headlines - we are here to walk together in meaningful ways in the world.

Yes, we stand witness as individuals and as a sacred Jewish community and are called to respond with what Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel z"l called "transitive concern," or sacred love. Yes, the pouring rain on my windowsill right now is surely God's Holy Tears, given this week's hurt in San Bernadino, Houston, Jerusalem, and beyond. May we be strong enough to offer God's Creation the comfort and healing it needs.   

All this demands the spirit of Channukah be truly felt, internalized, cherished, and amplified. The most human parts of ourselves are the most full of light. We hurt because we love. And on Channukah, our love illuminates the world, with increasing power each new night. We place the Channukiah near the window so that the joy not remain private. The darkness of winter is a true metaphor for the message of this festival: light, hope, humanity.

Yes, the history of Channukah is more complicated than this. (Isn't everything?) But, just for the moment, hear the pouring rain as a cleansing, as a Heavenly mikveh, as an invitation to be nourished, to be strengthened for the work ahead. An invitation to feel the light.

Friends, we will do more than pray in weeks to come. Please share Shabbat, Channukah music and food, holiday celebrations with adults and children, at home and beyond.

But, most of all, as we sing on Channukah, "באנו חשך לגרש, we've arrived to banish the darkness." Don't give up. Banish despair with the light you have inside. You have more than enough to share. And together, gevalt: we could illuminate the whole world. 

rabbi creditor
Breathe deeply. Cherish every breath. Let that light in. We all need it.

Happy early Channukah!

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