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Chanukah is the most important holiday

Friday, 11 December, 2020 - 3:47 pm

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Chanukah is the most important holiday on the Jewish calendar. More meaningful than Yom Kippur and more significant than Passover. 

Give it a few months, Passover will be the most important. And when the time for Yom Kippur comes around, it is clearly the most meaningful holiday on the Jewish calendar. 

But right now, Chanukah takes center stage. 

Yes, Chanukah is a post-biblical holiday but there is nothing minor about it at all. Especially today, when the world seems so dark, the message of Chanukah has all the more relevance. 

Let’s count some of the ways:

1) The name of the holiday, Chanukah, is derived from the word Chinuch, which means inauguration; Chanukah commemorates the re-inauguration of the Holy Temple after its defilement by the Syrian-Greeks. No matter how bleak things may seem, with sincere dedication and commitment it can always be turned around.

2) The same word, Chinuch, is the Hebrew term for education. Chanukah is about initiating and educating our family - and ourselves - in the ways of Torah and holiness.

3) Chanukah also teaches us the power of light to overcome the darkness. Darkness is not chased away with a stick, it disappears with the simple act of illumination. In our own lives, don’t fight the darkness - spread  light instead.

4) One light is good for today but not enough for tomorrow. Each day we have to grow and increase our efforts in the realm of goodness and kindness. Don’t be satisfied with who you were yesterday because today it is obsolete.

And of course, to implement any of this requires a focused Maccabee-like attitude, not allowing external societal pressures to dictate how we live our life. 

And there is so much more! There is so much significance connected to Chanukah, much more than latkes and dreidels. Let us spend the holiday of Chanukah applying these messages in our day to day life.

Don’t let anyone tell you that Chanukah is just a minor holiday!

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah! 

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