If These Candles Could Speak oh what a story they would tell.
They would tell of a time gone by when light was impossible to come by. Not only because the oil wasn’t available due to the attack of the Greek Hellenists on our holy Temple, but because the ethereal concept of light was under attack. The secularist society of the time had no space for optimistic and therefore religious expression.
They’d tell how against all odds a small band of disrupters would simply not accept the status quo. They’d fight back against the war-on-light and they pursue all avenues to procure the critical cruise of possibility.
If these candles could speak they’d relate how this battle replays itself again and again throughout history.
They’d tell of a time during the crusades, pogroms, and the Holocaust where the “Greeks” of that era continued to propose darkness as a solution in place of light. Death and destruction were the energy dejour or so they hoped. Yet, lamplighter after lamplighter refused to accept this verdict. It was – among others – Victor Frankl in Auschwitz or Rabbi Y.M. Lau the youngest survivor of Buchenwald and the countless other Rebbes and ordinary people who would not allow their spirit to be snuffed out. They were the Chanukah heroes in their day.
If these candles could speak they’d talk about a generation of incredible material abundance where the Greek’s dejour wasn’t a nation or a tribe rather a society they told us that hedonism (modern day Hellenism) is the “light” to be worshiped. It told us that we should worship Teslas and our body shapes, our social status “uber alles.” How many friends on any social platforms do we have and how many likes do we get, telling us that this is light and disconnecting and being at peace internally is not woke and is a darkness. It attempted to tell us that vanity is real and authenticity is false.
Yet the miracle of Chanukah was that we refused to accept society’s norms and real and allowed the Torah’s timeless wisdom to be our oil and guiding light.
If these candles could speak they’d share how in 2020 during an unprecedented pandemic where all seemed dark, people’s absolute best came out. Like the pure oil made only from the very first drop of the squeezed olive our unprecedented best was exposed. Kindness that we didn’t even know we beheld arose to the surface.
We shopped for others, we fed one another, we clothed and paid bills for those who were hurting. Each of us in our own way, led our “small armies” into battle and victory over a world illness that threatened to overwhelm us and snuff out our selflessness.
When push comes to shove, these candles are telling us that history simply repeats itself again and again. It changes shapes and flavors and manifests itself uniquely for the attempted darkness of that time. In the end, if there is a will, then the small army, the underdog can always, and will always prevail over the many – the darkness that threatens to redirect us from our truest mission of light, love and healing.
These candles do speak, for eight nights and days they have the megaphone and they sing this message of hope at their top of their waxy lungs.
Are we open to hearing their song?