In Ben’s great and informative post last week he had a photo that so moved me… brought me to literal tears… and yet, greatly inspired me… I am using it again here, as the image is hauntingly beautiful, eerie and heartbreaking, and needs no words.
And yet… here come some words. Clearly we do need words, which is the purpose of this blog. Ben and I started this whole “Megillah: in order to share our journey with our fellow travelers. And all we have to do that with, is our words… along with a few images we create or seek out. Each post is a step for us, a lesson learned, or something we hope to learn and understand.
If a picture paints a thousand words, what does this one say?
In the face of despair and darkness, comes light.
In the face of utter destruction and blackness, comes light.
Judaism is that light. We are still here.
And yet… we must not only “never forget,” but we must always… always keep a light shining on Europe and all that is going on there right now. Under the radar, perhaps, is a whole lot of dangerous anti-Semitism. Actually, sadly, it is pretty obvious and out in the open. Perhaps the subtlety is here. We are missing out on many stories that need to be told and heard. Politics has turned many of us on ourselves, on each other… and you may not agree politically with someone like George Soros… but you must be very wary of Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban “who has engaged in an ugly anti-Semitic campaign against Soros — succeeded in forcing the Soros-founded Central European University, a top institution, to leave the country.”
All of us… every single Jew must stand up to this. Silence is not and cannot be an option. Or else we will find ourselves right back in the same tragic situation.
This was not part of my original idea for this post, but it does feed into it.
Lights lead the way and guide us. Lights shine and reveal. Lights illuminate the truth. So it IS our job, all of our jobs, to be the light. We must all be the light and shine for the world to see.
But do not let this intimidate you. As we learn, quite literally, by lighting the menorah (technically the Chanukiah) we are sharing a mitzvah with the world. Even if we do it by ourselves, or with our family and friends in a private setting, we are lighting and alighting those around us. Though of course, there is an important reason to keep one in the window for all to see.
As we kindle the lights, the Siddur says it for us… explains it so clearly… illuminates the purpose… our purpose…
“During all eight days of Chanukah these lights are sacred and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, but to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name. For Your miracles, Your wonders, and Your salvation.”
As Ben wrote: “But when the Maccabees reclaimed the Menorah, they unleashed the Oral Torah back into the world.”
Let us all do the same. Let us unleash the light and all that, that means.
As we stand in front of the Chanukiah tonight and every other night of Chanukah, let us connect with and become the Shamash (the helper or servant)… let our souls be the flame, and let the flame enter our souls. Feel the literal warmth as we share this mitzvah… the mitzvah to light and enlighten. With each candle we light, it is a heart we touch, a mind we emblazon… this is also a miracle… a huge miracle. Happy Chanukah… Let us share with the world, the light we all are.