Thoughts on the Festival of Lights

Lighting the Chanukah Menorah is a symbol of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness.

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, begins Saturday night, December 8th and continues for eight days. Chanukah, recalls the victory—more than 2100 years ago—of a militarily weak but spiritually strong Jewish people over the mighty forces of a ruthless enemy that had overrun the Holy Land and threatened to engulf the land and its people in darkness.

The miraculous victory—culminating with the rededication of the Sanctuary in Jerusalem and the rekindling of the Menorah which had been desecrated and extinguished by the enemy—has been celebrated annually ever since during these eight days of Chanukah; especially by lighting the Chanukah Menorah, as a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness.

It is a timely and reassuring message, for the forces of darkness are ever present. Moreover, the danger does not come exclusively from outside; it often lurks close to home, in the form of the insidious erosion of time-honored values and principles that are at the foundation of any decent human society. Needless to say, darkness is not chased away by brooms and sticks, but by illumination. Our sages said, “A little light expels a lot of darkness.”

The Chanukah Lights remind us in a most obvious way that illumination begins at home, within oneself and one’s family, by increasing and intensifying the light of Torah and Mitzvot (Divine Commandments) in the everyday experience, just like the Chanukah Lights are kindled in growing numbers from day to day. But though it begins at home, it does not stop there. The Chanukah Lights are expressly meant to illuminate the “outside,” symbolically alluding to the duty to bring light also to those who, for one reason or another, still walk in darkness.

Let us pray that the message of the Chanukah Lights will illuminate the everyday lives of each individual, and of society at large, for a brighter future in every respect, both materially and spiritually.

Wishing you and yours a most joyous Chanukah!


Rabbi Shaul Goldman

Chabad of North S. Mateo County

Come celebrate Chanukah with us at the Sharp Park Library!

Join the Jewish Women’s Circle for an enjoyable evening exploring the feminine side of Chanukah. Make your own decorative bottle of herbal oil and feast on traditional Chanukah treats.

For more information and for candle lighting instructions and times visit www.jewishdalycity.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim C December 12, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Happy Chanukah, Rabbi Goldman. “A little light expels a lot of darkness.” - what a great message. Thanks for sharing.


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