Sunday, December 6, 2015


The message of Chanukah can be summed up in one word...or two...or better, three. Give me three here they are...

LIGHT          TRIUMPH           LIFE

Yes, that's it - three words.

LIGHT because human beings can't live without light. Light is hope, it's that moment when you know that the new day has come and no matter what happened yesterday, this is a bright new day. Light. We are commanded to be a light unto the nations - and we are. Really. We aren't perfect but we are unique in so many ways. So small, we are, and yet we have created history, changed history, shaped history. Greater nations have come and gone but what they lacked, perhaps, was light.

It isn't enough for us simply to be - we do not live only within our borders but we take our knowledge, our dedication, our love of the light and we spread it. So we are the first to bring field hospitals and massive amounts of equipment and professionally, carefully, quickly, set about saving lives in the darkness of natural and man-made disasters. Light.

TRIUMPH because it isn't enough just to live, you need to excel. You need to dedicate yourself to being the most you can be and when others rise up against you, you have to stick to what you believe, to who you are. And, in the end, simply out of determination, desperation, and yes, many blessings from Above, we have triumphed again and again. That's what Chanuka is about.

They would have wiped out our culture, destroyed our homes, exiled us - and sometimes they came very close to succeeding but in the end, they didn't because the light that burns inside of our people is never extinguished. In the darkest of places, we spread that light and triumph over the evil and the darkness.

LIFE because most of all, we teach our children to choose life. Davidi has started basic training. They are teaching him what his body can do - running, jumping, scaling walls. They are going to train him with a gun...and without a gun. And in the first week of his army training, they began by teaching him self-defense because what we cherish most is not that he can hurt our enemy, but that he can defend himself and others around him.

Yes, he'll learn offensive fighting but first and foremost, he will be taught the value of his life and that of his fellow soldiers. Above all else, live.

Chanukah is a message of triumphing over evil, over those who would come to destroy us. They tried 3,000 years ago, they tried 2,000 years ago, they tried 1,000 years ago, and they still try today. Their weapons change but their motive never do.

Our weapons change, but our goals remain. We will live. We will triumph. And we will reach for the light. Happy Chanukah to my daughters and sons, to my grandchildren who are learning anew to marvel at the lights as my children teach their children the essence of being Jewish - light, triumph, life.

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