From Generation to Generation
The foundation of Judaism’s strength is based upon unity of observing our traditions from generation to generation. It is a lesson taught to us by our Patriarchs Abraham-אברהם and his son, the Patriarch Isaac-יצחק.
“They walked in unity.” (Genesis 22, 8)
Hanukkah חנוכה— also spelled Chanukah, begins Sunday, Nov. 28 at sundown. Jews celebrate Hanukkah by lighting menorahs, telling the Hanukkah story, playing dreidel, and eating special foods. The Jewish Festival of Lights commemorates the rededication (חנוכה) of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees after it was destroyed by the Syrians, in 165 BCE.
Jerusalem was ruled by the Syrian-Greeks, who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in God. A small band of poorly armed Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.
When they sought to light the Temple’s Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single portion of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. They lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.
On the first night of Hanukkah, one candle on the far right of the menorah is lit. On the following night, the second light to the left of the first one is lit, and so on each night, moving from right to left. Each night, Jews light the newest (leftmost) candle first and continue lighting from left to right.
During the “holiday of oil,” it is customary to eat foods fried in oil, including dishes like potato latke (pancake) garnished with applesauce or sour cream, and jelly-filled sufganya (doughnut).
The lesson of Chanukka is a reminder to all that the Jewish nation is a miracle withstanding all challenges for 4,000 years to preserve the best traditions of mankind. It is a primary example of connecting the past to the present and preserving its future as long as parents and children walk the path of our saintly Patriarchs.
May G-d bring light to you, your family, and a future of peace.
Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz
Power of Light In Judaism
November 12, 2021
The essence of Chanukah is LIGHT. The holiday on the darkest time of the year-not only on, or near the Winter-Solstice, but also at a time in the Hebrew calendar, when the moon is new and therefore mostly hidden from view.
There is more than one command in Judaism to light lights. There are three. Permit me to share with you the words of the late Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l . “There are three commands in Judaism to light lights.The Shabbat candles, Havdalah candles and the Chanukah candles.The Shabbat candles represents “shalom bayit”, peace in the home.They are lit indoors.They are Judaism’s inner light the light of sanctity of marriage and the holiness of home.
The Havdalah candle, is made up of several woven wicks, it represents the fusion of the two, the inner light of the Sabbath, joined by the outer light we make during the six days of the week, when we go out into the world and live our faith in public.
The Chanukah candles, are the light Judaism brings to the world, when we live by our principles and fight, if necessary, for our freedom as our ancestors did long ago.”
When we celebrate Chanukah this year, let us think about the ways that the light, can inspire us to greater resolve.How will the fifty four lights of Chanukah, symbolize to all around us our capacity to be miracle workers in our daily lives.
As we have experienced these past two years this pandemic, the economy, antisemitism both at home and around the world, we pray that the bright and radiant lights of the Chanukah candles, bring peace of mind, hope and calm to all citizens of our blessed United States of America.
On behalf of my dear family, I would like to wish all our members and your dear families a beautiful, peaceful, healthy and radiant Chanukah.