Light of Hanukkah inspires inclusive vision – The Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Posted By on December 23, 2019

Twenty-twenty is greater than the terminology of eye doctors. All of us can share in the blessing of 20/20 vision witnessing the light of Hanukkah. The Jewish Festival of Lights inspires us to have a broader and more inclusive vision.

The Talmud, canonized 2,000 years ago as the repository of vast amounts of Jewish thought, lore and law, describes Hanukkah. The Maccabees, a small group of fighters who lived over 2,000 years ago, miraculously defeated the oppressive Greco-Syrians. Upon entering the Jerusalems Holy Temple, the Maccabees found utter destruction. Amidst the damage, they found one cruse of oil, enough for one day. But a miracle occurred, and they were able to light the candelabra for eight days. The following year they established these days as a holiday for praise and thanksgiving.

Hanukkah is a miracle of human perseverance and divine presence. The rabbis of yesteryear proactively reframed the historical account of the Maccabees military victory in terms of a divine miracle of the everlasting cruse of oil. They clearly wanted future generations to realize the power of spirit over the strength of physical prowess and overarching reality.

After all, can we have faith when evidence foments doubt? Can we persevere when challenges abound? Do we have the fortitude of believing in a better tomorrow when today is most difficult? As the days grow darker this time of year, we muster up deep faith that future days will be brighter and life unfolds goodness.

This perspective is embedded in Jewish tradition. We initiate days as beginning with the evening just as the biblical narrative describes the original days of creation as starting in the evening followed by morning. The Jewish Sabbath starts with sunset on Friday continuing through Saturday. Our mission in life is to move from darkness to light and that is one reason Hanukkah is so valuable.

Hanukkah concludes this year on Dec. 30, with a bright Hanukkah candelabra, the menorah of eight glowing lights. The festival ends with more light than it starts. Whereas, we expect things to run out and diminish, this festival inspires us to see what endures: love, kindness, truth, hope and peace. This glorious Festival of Lights leads into the new calendar year of 2020.

The Talmud empowers us to focus on the single cruse of oil symbolizing our capacity to make more than what might be apparent. Our inner being is our greatest enduring resource that guards and inspires our lives.

Hanukah begins Sunday evening Dec. 22. I pray that these sacred lights enlighten all of our lives. An ancient story has evolved over millennia. Today, Hanukkah strengthens our generation. May we be blessed with spiritual 20/20 vision. May the coming year grant us meaningful lives filled with goodness that brings peace

Shalom Uveracha-Peace and Blessings.

Rabbi Mark H. Kula serves at Congregation Beth Shalom in Bozeman.

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Light of Hanukkah inspires inclusive vision - The Bozeman Daily Chronicle

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