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Rosh Chodesh Tevet: Sharing the Light of Hanukkah

December 7, 2018
Ofree Basher

Orlando, Florida, United States

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.

In times of turbulence, telling the story of Hanukkah and engaging in the traditions that follow reminds us that if things are not that good today, tomorrow is another day and a brighter day. And that tomorrow, we are going to light another candle.

Chag Sameach and Shavua Tov on behalf of North Florida Region's 15th Regional Board.

Ofree is a BBG from North Florida Region.

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