Hanukah: Our Light is Better!


The Festival of Lights is a time that we are thankful for the freedom to be able to study and practice our own religion. How do our short-lived little candles compete with the whole-house electric displays of the non-Jews?

When we light our hanukia, we say a blessing acknowledging that Hashem performed miracles for our forefathers at this time. A miracle is defined as something that supersedes the natural course of nature. We perceive nature as the norm because it is observed to function the same way consistantly. However, things can change.

There is an account in the Gamarah [Oral Tradition] about a pious Jew named Hanina Ben Dosa. One day it was getting close to the Sabbath and there was no oil to light. They were very poor and could not afford to buy oil. His daughters came to him asking what they should do. He instructed them to fill their lamps with vinegar. Astounded, they asked how this would help as vinegar doesn't burn. He said, "The Master of the Universe Who created everything and causes oil to burn, can just as easily cause vinegar to burn." The daughters faithfully carried out their father's instruction, and the vinegar miraculously burned until the Sabbath ended.

Of course we are not on the spiritual level of Hanina Ben Dosa, and therefore cannot expect Hashem to grant us such extraordinary miracles. However, it is already a miracle that my salad dressing would burn to begin with!

Not only are we acknowledging the miracles, but we are also a partner in the performance of them. Our act of kindling lights on Hanukkah is an action of instilling holiness in a mundane object. In the tiniest light, we recognize the holiness of Hashem that is coming into the world.

We lit that flame...
We brought it about...
We filled the room with holiness.

We don't need those elaborate displays that guzzle power; we have something much more precious. May that holy light shine bright in our hearts.

Hanukah Sameach [Happy Hanukah],
The Jewlight Staff.

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