Let’s get Lit! Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 518

(Written by guest writer, my wife, Cantor Laurel Barr)

I’m never in a very good mood when the clocks change to accommodate Daylight Savings Time. Darkness descends so early, and especially now during December, winter skies and freezing temperatures only exasperate the gloomy feeling for me. Chanukah, the 8-day holiday of miracles which included the military victory of the tiny Jewish Maccabee army that overcame the aggression of the overwhelming Greek and Syrian armies in the 2nd century BCE, always falls during this dark and cold month. It commemorates the re-dedication of the temple, (Chanukah means dedicate), in Jerusalem that was defaced and nearly destroyed during this time.

The most well-known miracle was the discovery of a small flask of oil that was found uncontaminated and therefore usable for the lighting of the sacred lights. Only expected to last one day, the oil lasted for 8 full days, allowing the Maccabees time to cleanse the temple and replenish the sacred oil.

The Chanukah candles are to be lit and displayed in the front window of the home. Not only does the light brighten our room but stands as a symbol of light in the community and the world. As we increase the lights each night, the darkness fades as we increase our joy and hope in the growing candlelight over the 8 days.

I hope that this season of joy is illuminated by the light we each create and let us combine our lights to spread the spark around the world for harmony, health, and peace throughout the world.

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