Chanukah Reflection from the Rabbi

Over the last several weeks, we have witnessed acts of terrorism, in Paris and now San Bernardino. These terrible attacks are indeed frightening and have shaken our souls. But, they have also allowed fear-mongers and demagogues, such as Donald Trump (and sadly too many others) to flourish. We must not succumb to this fear and allow the best of our Jewish and American values to be torn asunder. We must not allow hate-speech to go unchallenged, for we have seen its consequences time and again, throughout history, and most recently at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado, in Charleston, South Carolina at the Mother Emanuel AME Church, as well as all the countless attacks on the LGBTQ community, the Islamic Community, and yes, even the Jewish community.
The great theologian and Civil Rights activist, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, said: “We shall never be able to understand that the spirit is revealed in the form of words, unless we discover the vital truth that speech has power, that words are commitments.” On Chanukah we read the famous words of the Prophet Zechariah: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, said Adonai Tzevaot.” The first Chanukah was a time to rededicate the Temple. May this Chanukah be a time to rededicate and renew our own, human spirits. May the Chanukah candles (and all the holiday lights of this season) be the light by which we reflect the spirit of peace and holiness. And may we create a world of light and not darkness, compassion not cruelty, love and not hate, knowledge and not ignorance, and peace and not violence.
Sending blessings for a Happy Chanukah and peaceful holiday season to all,
Rabbi Susan

Published in Rabbi Susan's Blog on December 10, 2015