Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hanukkah Tells You How You're Unique

On Hanukkah, we are required to light candles, and the rabbis are very specific that it not be a torch, that they not be all over but lined up, that basically, each candle be uniquely its own contribution to the menorah, and to pirsumei nissah, to the command to “advertise the miracle” of Hanukkah.

And when you think about it, that is what Hanukkah itself is about.  It’s about the Jews saying, “no, we won’t assimilate and disappear – we have something unique to us to contribute to the tapestry of humanity.  We have a special job to play in God’s world, and we aren’t going to go away or become just like everyone else.”

The lesson of Hanukkah is a lesson to teach you to be uniquely you.  To embrace the things that make you who you are.  As it is taught, a human king will stamp coins and they all come out with the same image stamped on them.  God however, stamps the “coins” of each human being with God’s Spirit and in so doing, each coin comes out unique.  You are, by being yourself an important part of God’s plan for creation.

This is a lesson for the family and our community – that there are some people who are blessed with the skills of leadership, with a talent for building up the community, and if you’re one of those people then you are called upon to contribute your unique blessing to the betterment of the community.

Finally, Hanukkah reminds us of another lesson involving light, which is also the lesson of being a Jew in the greater world – that we have a job, to be an ohr l’goyim, a light to the world, of how to live in a holy, godly way.  Do your part in lighting the way of Judaism in our world.

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