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Home » Chanukah

Chanukah: Why Is Our Light Different From All Other Lights?

Submitted by on November 2, 2005 – 3:44 amNo Comment | 2,574 views

Simple Lights

Have you ever noticed that seasonal lights are more glamorous then the Chanukah lights? Have you ever noticed that seasonal lights come adorned with trees, gifts and a kaleidoscope of color while our lights are simple and undecorated? Have you ever noticed that ironically (or maybe by Divine Providence) both the Jewish and the Christian holiday season invariably fall in the same month?

Sitting in my office trying to put this issue in perspective I asked myself a far more important question; have you ever wondered why our people have never altered the style of our Chanukah lights for the more attractive and festive style of the other lights?

If you’ve wondered about the last question, as I have, then there is a good chance that we’ve both arrived at pretty much the same conclusion. It seems to me, that the glamour of the Chanukah lights is actually found in their simplicity. different from all other lights - innerstreamOur Chanukah lights are symbolic in nature and in the lighting of them, a story is told.

Jewish Faith over Greek Culture

It is a heartwarming and inspiring story, for in it we encounter the beauty and simplicity of the Jewish soul. In the Chanukah miracle days, the ancient Greeks occupied the Jewish land and attempted to assimilate our people. They flooded our land with Greek idolatry and mythology and worked diligently to bring about a Jewish adoption of Greek culture.

A small but faithful group of Macabies led a spirited rebellion; they kindled a spiritual flame in the hearts of their fellow Jews. The rebellion gathered momentum throughout the country and ultimately defeated the larger Greek force. In doing so, they held the glamour of Greek culture at bay and preserved the purity of Jewish faith.

A Modern struggle

The Chanukah lights tell a story that happened more than two thousand years ago. They also tell us that the ancient battles of Chanukah continue to reenact themselves in our personal lives today. It is the struggle of the spiritual versus the physical, aspirations of the soul versus desires of the body.

In the Chanukah prayers, we praise G-d for placing the impure forces into the hands of the pure and the wicked into the hands of the righteous. In our lives, we are called upon to make similar judgements every day, to judge between right and wrong, good and bad, morality and temptation.

To master the balance between the two is to negotiate a difficult tightrope. We are charged by the Almighty to accept rather then to reject, to seek integration with the world and people around us but to remain spiritually unaffected.

This is the nature of the story told by the Chanukah lights. To the Jew, glamorous lights and fascinating colors have come to represent the allure, temptations and pleasures of life. Despite its allure (or perhaps in spite of it) we, as the Chanukah lights, hope to remain pure and unaffected.

Happy Chanukah

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