Spread the Light!

Hanukkah, the History, the Celebration, the Lessons

During the time of the second Temple, the Holy Land was ruled by an oppressive regime.
The ruling dictators, supported by the Greek empire, suppressed the Jewish religion, persecuted the faithful, and even set up idols in the holy temple in Jerusalem…!

It was Mattityahu the Maccabee and his five sons, from the priestly tribe, who rose up and drove the dictators from the land.  Each year, the Hanukka lights remind us of the great miracle that a small band of Jews defeated a mighty army.

Another miracle that is remembered annually is the miracle of the oil.
According to legend, all the sacred oil, necessary to light the Menorah (the candelabrum) in the temple, had been made impure.  Only one jar was found which contained just enough oil for one day. The Maccabean liberators nonetheless lit the Menorah but low and behold, it lasted for eight days! Thus the eight days of Hanukkah!

Hanukkah reminds us that, even though darkness often seems to prevail in this world, and it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is always hope and life is filled with miracles, breakthroughs that happen at all odds.  Nowadays, is not a celebration of a military victory, but a time to rejoice in the delicate little lamps and candles that shine in the darkness, sparks that we can light to chase away the darkness.   We eat and get together with friends or family, we give presents and share with others.  And that’s when we experience that happiness, joy and faith have the power to overcome negativity.

By adding an additional candle each night for eight days, as with each night our light becomes stronger, we charge ourselves, and we learn to see God’s miracles, then and now.

With best regards,

Sjimon R. den Hollander