Chag Sameach Rosh Chodesh,
Today marks the start of Rosh Chodesh Tevet, and consequently, the seventh night of Hanukkah. Although this year we light our hanukkiot (menorahs) with heavy hands and hearts in remembrance of the atrocities against our people and all people these past few months, it is important that we see our proud display of our rituals this holiday as a symbol of strength.
Nothing could be more discouraging than the future that the Maccabees faced in the story of Hanukkah. Outnumbered by both men and armory, reserves and skill, the fledgling Maccabees had no chance against the experienced Syrian-Greeks.
The Maccabees knew that it would take a miracle to overcome these odds; there was simply no earthly plan that could deliver a victory. Yet, the Jewish warriors rejected the thoughts that were imposed onto them, and drew on the resilience of their faith in their people.They faced off against the Greek army and fought an otherwise impossible war. Despite all odds, they banked on a miracle and it finally came. The Maccabees overcame both mental and physical adversity, and triumphed.
Arriving at their temple to celebrate their victory, The Maccabees found their home is shambles. And when there was no oil to be found to light their menorah, they still didn’t let themselves give up the fight. Any other group of people would have been discouraged enough to leave their home and their traditions behind. But once again, the optimism and resilience of the Maccabees proved to be enough.
They knew that once kindled, a flame doesn’t die. Thus, their flame lasted for eight historic nights. In the story of the Hanukkah lights, we see that just enough can be plenty. Among the many differences in our tradition, Hanukkah reminds us of what we really have, and how we can share it with others. And on our 7th night, as our holiday comes to a close, it’s important for us to ask how we can serve as “a light onto the nations” year-round, emulating the unwavering resilience and optimism that led our ancestors to victory.
Chag Sameach and Shavua Tov on behalf of North Florida Region's 15th Regional Board.
Ofree is a BBG from North Florida Region.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
As it came time to celebrate the new year it also became time for some somber reminders as we enter 5780.
Here in Vienna, antisemitism is resurfacing more than ever and there is no one and nothing to stop it. How will we move on?
Get The Shofar blasted to your inboxSubscribe