Jewish World Review Dec. 27, 2000 / 2 Teves, 5761

Light a candle

By Yaffa Ganz -- WINTER is a dreary season. The lack of light affects me. I need sunlight, bright hues, clear skies to make me fly. Winter afternoons send me scurrying home to a warm house, all the lights turned up. Clean, glistening, white snow is a fairy thing but only when it's clean and white. When the grey slush sets in, my barometer plunges down down down.

That's why I love Chanuka. Those small points of light go streaming back two thousand, one hundred and thirty nine years and they haven't gone out yet. Like the people they illuminate, they're small, modest, unobtrusive, yet oh-so-powerful. They burn, glow, encourage, emit energy. And they're a good focal point for dreaming of miracles past and future hopes. They're put near a window for all the world to see, but they are lit inside the true Jewish citadel for the family, in the home.

Chanuka marks the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. From then on, for me, it's all uphill. More light, more faith, more learning; more optimism, more energy, more love. It's the end of the Dark Time, the beginning of Light which will lead to Spring, Renewal, Redemption.

That's why Chanuka and the Miracle of the Menorah took place in the Temple on the 25th of Kislev, 2139 years ago. That's why the Tabernacle was dedicated in the Desert and its Menorah lit for the first time on the 25th of Kislev 3313 years ago. That's why Chanuka celebrates the victory of Torah and Light over the darkness of Hellenism and idolatry whatever form these may take in different times. That's why Chanuka is a time for thanksgiving and praise for the miracles, the wonders, the salvation which have kept the Jewish people alive and well from Sinai until today.

Light a candle, folks, and lift up your soul!

JWR contributor Yaffa Ganz is the award winning author of Cinnamon and Myrrh and All Things Considered (Mesorah Publications N.Y.). She has written more than forty Jewish juvenile titles including Sand and Stars --- a 2000 year saga of Jewish history for teen readers. You may contact her by clicking here.


© 2000, Yaffa Ganz