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The Courage of Chanukah

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah.  I wish each of you a light filled week of miracles.   My teacher Rabbi David Hartman z’l taught that the miracle of Chanukah was not the little jar of oil that lasted for eight nights.  And it wasn’t the defeat of Syrian-Greek army by the Maccabees.  It wasn’t the recapture of the temple or its rededication.  But the real miracle was the courage it took for the Maccabees to light the Menorah in the Temple even though they knew they only had enough for one day.  They lit it anyways.  They could have delayed.  They could have said let’s wait until we make enough.  Instead they celebrated. They rejoiced that God had delivered them and as the prophet Zechariah teaches: Not by Might, Not by Power, but by MY Spirit alone.  They had the courage to light the Menorah even though they lacked the resources of additional oil.

Sometimes we must all act.  Even if we don’t know what the outcome will be.  We have to take the step forward and light a candle in the darkness.  Sometimes we are amazed and surprised to discover we had resources we didn’t even know we had.  This is the miracle of the Maccabees.  And this remains as a legacy for us.  So light a candle in the darkness and light the way for hope and justice!  Chag Urim Sameach, Happy Chanukah