The prophet Zechariah teaches us on this Shabbat of Hanukkah, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit alone.” The great Jewish composer and musician Debbie Friedman sang, “Not by might and not by power, but spirit alone, shall we all live in peace.” I thought of these words as I watched the funeral service of President George H.W Bush.
President Bush was eulogized as a leader of this country, as a friend and as a father. A very telling story came from Bush historian Jon Meachem, who told of his visit to a pediatric cancer ward in Krakow, Poland. Tears came to the President’s eyes as he realized this young boy in front of him was suffering from the same disease that he lost his daughter. He remarked in his diary, that as this young man looked at the President, he hoped the child knew that he loved him. For every foreign policy or domestic issue at hand, it was the soft and tender heart, the spirit, that defined President Bush. First Lady Barbara Bush never let her husband cry in Robin’s room, and yet, he said many years later, “If you want to know someone’s heart, you need to know what breaks it.”
Hanukkah is a time when we can identify which spirit we would like to show the world; let’s make the right choice.