I love Chanukah.
I love that the Chanukah story blends political narratives rooted in history and spiritual myths that lead us on a timeless journey.
I love that we don't totally understand what happened in Judea in 167 BCE. Outlawing Jewish practice would have been out of sync with the Hellenistic values and policies that encouraged cultural fusion, not suppression. The full story must be more complicated than the tale we tell.
I love that the American Jewish experience has given Chanukah unprecedented prominence, because Jewish life is dynamic. Modern life and Jewish wisdom are in dialogue.
I don't love how Chanukah has become a consumer holiday with so many presents, but I also enjoy the irony inherent in that reality. Because at its core, Chanukah celebrates how beautifully powerful a small amount can be!
- We celebrate how one small group of scrappy Jews somehow defeated the Greeks.
- We celebrate how one small canister of oil lasted much longer than anyone would have guessed.
- We celebrate on the darkest nights, and experience for ourselves how one small candle can bring so much light.
At Sanctuary, we're embracing how profound strength can be discovered in small containers. We're even having two back-to-back Family Gatherings this Saturday in order to meet in a home setting with a small group of people.
When the scale of a gathering is small, we can really talk, learn about one another, and form solid connections. When the size is small, we grow in depth.
May this year's festival of light bring us joy, insight and strength. May we feel in our souls how beautifully powerful a small amount can be.
Rabbi Bethie Miller