As we delve deeper in the winter abyss, and continue to notice the shortened daylight and prolonged darkness, we are blessed with a holiday of hope. Just when we think the darkness of the season is taking over, we pull out the Menorah and light the candles to add brightness and warmth to our nights.
Whatever we believe about the history and miracle of Hanukkah, one thing is clear: it is about bringing light to darkness. It is about recognizing that we have some control over our immediate conditions. We can add light and hope to our darkest moments.
So important is the mitzvah, the commandment, of lighting the candles that we are told that we may not do anything by the light of those candles. We cannot use them for light to be able to eat, cook, read, write, or anything else. If we need to do anything in the room where the candles are lit, we are obligated to make sure there is another light source in the room. The command is to bask in the light of the candles themselves.
As we begin to light the Hanukkah candles on Sunday evening, let’s think about the ways we can bring the message of the light of the Menorah to our communities. How can we bring hope and light to those who need it now?
In honor of the recent movie about the band Queen and their epic song Bohemian Rhapsody, here is a Hanukkah parody sung to that tune.
From the Tecktiel family to your family, we hope you have a happy and meaningful Hanukkah with your loved ones.
Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel has been Midbar Kodesh Temple's spiritual leader since August 2008. Rabbi Tecktiel was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May of 1996. He holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one from List College and one from Columbia University. He also holds a Masters of Arts from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
You can follow him on Twitter @RabbiMKT.