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A little naivete goes a long way

Friday, 7 December, 2018 - 1:29 pm

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Last night Jewish people all over the world lit the 5th Chanukah candle. There’s something unique about the 5th night - it’s the first time we have the majority of the Menorah lit.

There’s an important Chanukah message related to the Menorah, a message that I feel is not discussed as often as it deserves. The truth is that the very same message is related to the very miracle of Chanukah itself.

Think about the act of lighting the Chanukah candles. We begin with but one candle. The second night we add only one more; each night we add just one candle.

When Chanukah begins, there’s much darkness. Even our little light is only one out of eight branches of the Menorah. But with a little persistence and consistency, in due course we find ourselves lighting the majority of the branches. Until in the end, on the eighth night, all eight branches are lit.

It takes a healthy dose of idealism, matched with equal amounts of naivete, to think that you can change the world. The message of Chanukah is a simple yet extremely powerful one: Don’t let the darkness overwhelm and discourage you. Light your flame, ignite your small corner of the world. Add a little more light each day - only one little bit more than before - and before long, with a little persistence and consistency, you will have changed the world for good.

This is truly how the entire Chanukah miracle took place. One simple act of idealism and yes, naivete, brought about a huge miracle.

Think about it - did it make sense to light the one flask of pure oil found by the Maccabees? It would last for only one day - and it would be another seven days until fresh pure oil could be manufactured. What would be accomplished by lighting the flames for that one night, only to leave the Menorah dark for the next seven?

Yet, light it they did. And we know the rest of story: The amazing miracle that took place and the annual celebration we still commemorate every year - over 2000 years later.

Which leads us to an important additional detail. When it comes to increasing in goodness and light we need to retire our self doubt and bring on a little naivete. Yes, our consistency will lead to much more than we imagine. But there’s even more to the story; G-d sees our commitment and dedication and throws a little divine power behind our efforts.

Suddenly our little light miraculously lasts for eight days and changes the world forever.

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