The Blessing of Hanukkah Dreams
Temple Bet Yam’s warm welcome over the last few months, has led to a new and unexpected opportunity for gratitude: what started out as a brief High Holy Day pulpit has turned into a much longer opportunity to serve and lead this amazing congregation.
I never imagined that I would be blessed to be writing this Hanukkah reflection, but indeed, this seems perfect: the ways a little leap of hope and faith can lead to outcomes that exceed all our expectations. This is not unlike the story of how a little bit of oil, barely enough to light the Temple for one day, lasted for eight days… just long enough for more oil to be made.
This reminds me of one of the deeper spiritual lessons about Hanukkah by one of my teachers, with whom I was blessed to study, in Jerusalem, before his passing, was Reb Shlomo Carlebach, who integrated Jewish tradition with mystical teachings from the Kabbalah, in a very powerful and accessible way:
‘‘When the lowest person in the world was a child, he was dreaming about being the holiest, most glorious person in the world. But something happened. Someone destroyed his dreams, and he gave up on the world.
It is so easy to lose our dreams. Why? Because nobody really encourages them. If someone can bring me back to the dreams I once had, he is my best friend in the world.
This is what Chanukah does. This is why Chanukah is the greatest, deepest holiday in the world. On Chanukah, God gives us back our dreams.’’
The story of this season, not only for us as Jews, but for our Christian brothers and sisters, is the story of how the impossible is possible, if we can just hold on to faith.
For each of us, in our own lives, let us take this time to reflect upon our own dreams and hopes. Have some of them been trampled upon by the harsh realities of life? What dreams have we given up on? What dreams have we lost courage to fight for?
This Hanukkah season, let us kindle Light… let us kindle Light, and reignite our commitment to make our dreams come true… let us kindle Light and reignite the dreams of those around us… This Hanukkah season, let us face whatever darkness we encounter with a pledge to BE Light.
Rabbi Dr. Nadia Siritsky