The Gift of Hanukkah

November 27, 2017


lighting-menorahIt is Hanukkah time, a time for Jews to think of the events that took place around 162  BCE.  The Holy Temple had been defiled. The Jews beat Antiochus IV Epipphanes in battle and gained  the opportunity to ‘Redeem’ and ‘Rededicate’ our spiritual symbol.  Unfortunately, eventually the Temple was destroyed.

During this past year I have spoken to many people who feel defiled and frustrated. The mood that exists could be the result of politics, finances, social events or the general community. There seems to be a sad uninspiring malaise drifting through the spirit of a majority of the population. It is my hope that your personal Temple will not be destroyed.

I would like to suggest that every human being can be a ‘Holy Temple’ and Jews should rededicate their personal holy Temple this time of the year. Just as we celebrate the Maccabean Jews regaining control over Jerusalem and rededicated the Holy Temple we should utilize the Hanukkah Holiday as a time to regain control over our lives. We need to renew the spiritual general goodness that is dormant within us.

In the Hanukkah story there was only enough oil for half an hour of light.  The question was should the leaders decide to light the oil now or wait until more oil could be produced.  They decided not to wait, but to light the lamp immediately.  The result was that there was more energy in the vessel than expected.  At this moment in time a number of people believe they do not have the energy to redeem the lost goodness of their world.  Rather than wait, now is the time for personal redemption! You have more personal strength than you may think.

As the Hanukkah Menorah has one ‘enlightening candle’ that brightens the additional eight candles, I am going to suggest  that in addition to lighting the traditional Hanukkah candles that you follow a course of enlightening action and eight additional spiritual ways you can redeem and renew your lives.

The rededication will come from the personal events you introduce into your life, and then after Hanukkah you will have the spiritual renewal that will bring you back to the life you want to live.  You, of course, can modify my suggestions into what will work for you, and you can substitute your actions for the ones I suggest.

The first action is the Shamus, the enlightener.  The first candle is turning off your TV and disregarding general smart phone calls, computer and electronic communications for one night. Of course, medical needs and trauma should be taken care of. After the Shamus, when you can use your phone again, the first candle is to call a friend that you have not spoken to for at least one year.  Talk about each other’s lives and personal events – do not talk politics. Hearing someone’s voice is an important connection. The next day, candle two, call a relative you have not spoken to for a long time. Next day, Candle three: read something for pleasure. Read an article, part of a book – it can be an audiobook. Candle four: Take a scenic walk. It could be by the ocean and see the sunset or some other natural location – even the zoo or a large public park like Balboa Park.  Candle five: Speak with someone you like, and tell them something you like about them, and you could ask that person to tell you something they like about you.  Candle six: Write a letter that you could choose not to send to anyone. Candle seven: Write a letter to yourself that includes something you like about yourself. For the last candle, candle eight, write another note to yourself answering the questions “Who am I, and what do I want to do in the coming year?”

After you have gone through the lighting of the above candles, you may want to do something helpful for the community. Many good organizations need your help. Redemption does come to the giver of help.  Your renewed brightened spirit can be shared with children, other families and friends.

Lighting these nine candles can be the redemption of your personal Temple and community Temples. I am interested to know how your personal Temple is doing. Α


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