What do we learn from the freedom that the Maccabees won in their time?
• They resisted the tyranny of a ruler
and regime that sought to impose
one culture, one belief, and one approach
to life on everyone.
• They demonstrated that power that lacks inspiration
and purpose, but only seeks control, will not
• They turned the perceived need among some of
their fellow Jews to acquiesce to cultural pressures
around them into an affirmation that it’s all
right to be different.
• They acted with courage in the face of great odds
and what might have been certain defeat.
• They kept their vision focused on what was holy
to them: their values, their tradition, their rituals,
their community, and their God.
• They persisted in engendering hope at a hopeless
What do we see in the lights we light on the
• We first see the history of
each chanukiah we light:
when it came into our home,
who lit the candles on it over
the years, why that particular
chanukiah design bore significance
for the family, and, perhaps, photographs
of lighting the candles from year to year, and how
Chanukah itself marks the passing of our heritage
from one generation to the
• We see the joy that we know in
our own lives that comes from
warming relationships with
family and friends.
• We see connections between
us and the Jews around the
world who are also lighting their Chanukiot.
• We acknowledge that our celebration is one of
many in December, which provides us with an
opportunity to build bridges of understanding.
• We look into the lights on the Chanukiah and see
the guidance and wisdom of Judaism that has sustained us until now and can
still nourish us with its teachings
about compassion, commitment,
justice, hope and
• We learn from using the
Shamash to light the other candles
that service is crucial to assuring that the
lights of any society or nation, in
the form of well-being for all people,
will burn brightly.
• We see the various colors of the
flames, reminding us of the diversity
of humankind that has a way
of moving people towards coexistence out of necessity
and, ultimately, out of love.
• We watch the candles burn
and feel their warmth, knowing
that we can exude that same
warmth through hospitality and
generosity of spirit.
May our celebration of Chanukah
in 5778 lead us to a special
place in ourselves and with
each other. As the lights of Chanukah are holy,
may we reflect that holiness in our lives through all