Lighting the Lights of Our Souls

This month, as many of you know, brings Hannukah. It is a curious and problematic festival that, while minor in the grand scheme of Jewish calendar festivals, has become “major” here in the USA.

Rabbi Richard Address
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D. Min.

The annual excess of buying has begun. I often wonder what we are doing or what message we are sending with our Channukiot displayed on shopping center light posts or our public candle lightings.

Yet the festival, despite its current incarnations, does provide us with a reason to celebrate family and the light that we hope that brings.

Part of every gathering is usually a round of “dreidel“; the spinning top game with the 4 Hebrew letters standing for “a great miracle hapenned there” (nes, gadol, hayah, sham).

A friend and colleague several years ago commented on the dreidel as symbolic of life. It has aparticlar meaning, I think, for us. We spin that little top in hopes that we will win something, or, at least, not have to put something from our holdings into the pot. But, we do not know when we spin what the outcome will be.

Like much of the life we have lived, the randomness of where that dreidel lands, is out of our control. We can only deal with the results and, having done so, move on.

So many of our generation are having to deal with issues and realities that were not predicted or considered. What we thought would be our reality has, for many boomers, changed.

The test for us is how we choose to deal with the new realities of life; be they economic, social, health family related. In that way do the candles come to symbolise the light of our own souls. If we choose correctly, we, like the Hannukah “menorah”, make light grow. We add to the power of our soul and help light up our lives and the lives we touch. So, as we see so often, what we choose determines who we are and who we may become. So in this Hannukah season, embrace those whom you love and have the strength to choose your own path, following your own light of your own soul.

Hag Sameach,

Rabbi Richard F. Address

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