Chanukah, also called the Festival of Lights, is sparkly holiday. For eight nights, our homes are filled with the glow of the menorah candles, gold-covered candies are scattered about and many young families decorate their homes with shiny blue and white decorations. Indeed, the candy bar recipe here reflects how we have come to celebrate Chanukah.
It is easy to get lost in the whimsy and forget how important this holiday is. Chanukah represents the strength of Jewish survival. You all know the story: the Maccabees defeated the Syrian Greeks who tried to convert the Jews to Hellenism and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. After they liberated Jerusalem, the Maccabees cleared the Temple of idols. They fashioned a new menorah, but only found one pitcher of oil to light it, which would last just one day, yet miraculously, it lasted for an entire week. Jewish life in Israel was restored.
Today, when we can express our Judaism freely, Chanukah should remind us that we must not take that for granted. We must continue to search for the spark to ignite our own deeper commitment to Judaism.
Chanukah also teaches us an important lesson: you do not have to wait for all your resources before you start a project. The Maccabees found a small amount of oil in the Temple, and they knew it would only light themMenorah for one day. Rather than abandon their efforts because they were unlikely to accomplish much, they lit the menorah, and the oil lasted for eight nights. If a project is important enough, it is worth taking the first step even if one does not know what will ultimately happen. This Chanukah, take a step forward; you never know where it might lead.