Honorable Mensch-ion

Bright Lights

We place the Chanukiah in the window in order for all to see the miracle. This mitzvah should not be performed in isolation; it is for others to see that a great miracle happened there, in Israel. Yet, this week, I can firmly state a great miracle happened here. Just days after the troubling anti-Semitic acts committed against our own Jewish community, hundreds of Jews gathered at Century City mall for a public gathering; not behind closed doors or in a theatre, but in full display for all to see. The only complaint….the tent was sold out! Children spun dreidels, adults danced the hora, latkes warmed our bellies. While it was the third night, I decided to once again recite the Shehecheyanu. Each morning of Chanukah we recite Hallel and Al Hanisim, praising God for the miracles that were brought and the miracles we continue to witness each and every day, if we wish to open our eyes to these signs.

I watched on this cold Southern California evening, as we were surrounded by heavy security, faces transformed from fear to freedom, from frowns to smiles; an affirming night of celebration that the Maccabees struggle is our struggle too, that their victory of religious freedom is our victory too. This weekend, we will witness a bright Chanukiah, aglow with flame; a spectacle for all to enjoy. Yet, the next night, when the candles have melted, is as important; how will the light of the last 8 nights lead us in the darkness ahead? As we sing, “One for each night, to shed a sweet light, to remind us of days long ago.” Let us this light continue to remind us of the light we will see tomorrow.

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