It is a pleasure writing to you after having shared a wonderful Holiday season. I have enjoyed meting so many of you, and look forward to further occasions together.
It has been a difficult few months: earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires,nuclear threats, and mass shootings. I often think about Hanukkah as a winter solstice festival: during the darkest 24 hours of the year (when the night ls long and the moon is gone), we light an increasing number of candles. I understand this as an expression of the faith that, in Hillel’s words, “holiness always ascends,” or in Martin Luther King’s words,“the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
What about Hanukkah helps us increase that holiness? Is there a teaching for how we can bring holiness in a violent world? I often think about the prophetic saying, “not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit.” Dictators take the path of might, and in the end disappear. If we can live in a way that brings holiness to the world, through kindness and connection rather than by force, we can impact others in long-lasting ways.
May all of us increase the light in the world, and in the lives of those around us.
Feel free to contact me anytime by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rabbi David B. Siff, Ph.D