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Happy Hanukkah - 2015

Tomorrow, Sunday, the Jewish people all over the word shall come together to celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah. Personally, it’s one of my favorite holidays, both from a Jewish place and in general.

I connect to Hanukkah in various way and on different levels of significance, but above all – on the pretty basic level of its being the Festival of Lights. And even here there are several aspects.

Festival of Lights

Naturally, first and foremost – it is the pure beauty and hypnotic attraction of the fire at dancing the end of the brightly colored candles, wavering and streaming in the darkness against the window, their reflections adding more shimmering flames in the glass pane. Watching all the candles in their Hanukkiyah candle-holders in all the windows around. A deep-seated attraction to the flame, probably taking root in the beginning of humanity. The one causing the places of fire in our homes to be the focus of attraction of humanity for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years.

Hannukah menorah lights in a window
Illustration: lighting a hannukah candle

Banishing the darkness

Secondly – on the symbolic level of the primal connection between the light and darkness. Every time the popular Hanukkah song “Banu choshekh legaresh” (We have come to banish the darkness) begins, I am reminded anew that (a) we really don’t need to; and (b) it is quite futile, not possible.

Anyone, who pays any attention at all to what is going on around him, and invest any time in his self-development, thus studying and considering the meaning of words we use on daily basis, the ideas we think of and believe in, knows and understands that darkness and light are not opposites, they aren’t enemies. They complete each other.

Moreover, darkness is a word we use to describe an abstract term, an idea. There is no physical entity, no measurable parameter in nature called darkness. Only light. Therefore, darkness is simply a state of lack, lack of light. That is why one can never “banish” darkness. Try as you might, you can never take darkness out of any space or place; it is impossible to make the darkness leave, move, change density or alter its state in any way at all. Because no such entity exists. In short – no manner of manipulation on darkness is possible.

On the other hand, it is enough to bring a little light in, and the darkness dissipates. A little candle is enough to make the darkness retreat and reveal that which it was hiding earlier. We bring in more light – and the darkness is further reduced. This is why the festival of light so important.

It serves as a reminder for us, that we shouldn’t spend so much of our time protesting and fighting all the types of darkness surrounding us, be it the darkness of ignorance; the darkness of racism; the darkness of narrow-mindedness; the darkness of victim-hood; the darkness of xenophobia of all kinds; the darkness of a primitive, medieval culture…

I would really like to stress: we are not, under any circumstances, to ignore it, or deny it’s existence. It exists alright, in the same manner that lack of light exists. So we must protect ourselves from its effects and all resulting phenomena. But we should not focus on fighting the darkness, but bring in the light, instead.

To get an effect, we should spend our energy on bringing more light of enlightenment; more light of values; more light of the love of our neighbours; more light of doing for ourselves and for others; more light of creating what is good and beneficial for all, of doing what is necessary just because it is the right thing to do, for ourselves. So that our light never goes out, but grows ever stronger. So that our days be longer on this Earth.

And to be grateful from the bottom of our hearts to this wonderful and delightful reminder that we get each and every year: Hanukkah.

Happy Festival of Lights, everyone! I have prepared a special greeting card for you, click on the picture below to enlarge.

Top picture: original image from article on Hanukkah candles at the Readers’ Digest website.
Second picture: original image from a post on 1st night of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving at the Life Tastes Good blog.

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