Sad as it sounds, we usually appreciate things most when we lack them. In our free, comfortable and “enlightened” world we can often be quite blinded. But today, on Chanukah, we celebrate one of the greatest gifts in life – one that is so often overlooked: The gift of light. Light is so much more than a candle. To appreciate light imagine a world without it – a life shrouded in darkness and confusion, a life devoid of clarity, wisdom, truth, objectivity, illumination, warmth, and much more.
Two riveting stories – one of Chanukah in the Gulag, and another of Chanukah in Auschwitz – capture the universal theme and powerful lesson of the Chanukah lights.
Listen to the flames, we are told. Listen to the story that the lichtelech tell us. It’s only one tiny flame, but lit at sundown, as the shadows of night descend, at the doorpost facing the street, the menorah reminds us of the power of light to eliminate darkness – to rid the world of selfishness, negativity, hatred and greed, by kindling the lights of knowledge, generosity, faith and love, not only into our own homes, but also into the lives of others and into the world.
The elements of Chanukah – the eight flickering flames, the miracle of the oil, the light shining into the dark street – beckon us to connect to the power of our soul. Our soul rises like a flame toward transcendence, not only repelling darkness as is the nature of all light, but transforming the darkness into light.