We come to the end of Chanukah this weekend. Our bellies are filled with latkes and sufganiot, our spirits are filled with joy and light. My mind now turns to one of the most important lessons of Chanukah. It is not the miracle of the oil or the miracle of the defeat of the Assyrian Greeks. For me, one of the most important lessons is the miracle of our survival as a Jewish people despite the many evil Empires that have tried to destroy us, but have themselves been swept away in the dust heap of history.
The fact that we have survived these three thousand years of human history is a true testament to our faith and tradition, but it is also a true miracle.
Mark Twain once wrote about us Jews: “[The Jew] has made marvelous fight in this world, in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away. The Greek and the Roman followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
I think the secret of our immortality is our adherence and connection to our traditions and faith which guide our ethics and values each day, along with a little dose of a miracle thrown in.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah.
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.