One of my favorite sights of all times is when our Sanctuary is aglow with the flickering of Chanukah candles sitting in menorahs of varying shapes and sizes. It is a sight not to be missed! However, did you know that the Talmud teaches that our Chanukah candles should be placed “at the entrance to one’s house on the outside, so that all can see it?” So, while we might delight in lighting within the beautiful space that is our Sanctuary, we’re actually supposed to publicize the miracle that our ancestors experienced long ago!
Journalist David Gregory, author of this year’s Chanukah article in American Jewish World Service, explains the commandment to publicize the miracle this way: “By urging us to place our menorahs in the window, the Talmud turns the celebration of Chanukah into a moment to take stock of our situation. This year do we feel bold, like the triumphant Maccabees freely asserting their religion and rekindling the menorah’s lights? Or do we feel fearful, like Judeans living under Greek rule?” He goes on to say: “Tragically, this year, minorities around the world – Jews included, have new reasons to feel that they need to hide their lights.”
And so this year, let us come together to light and enjoy the warmth of our community and when we light at home and place our menorahs by the window let us do so for all those who must hide their light out of fear: for fellow Jews, Muslims, African-Americans, LGBTQ people and others who feel at risk. On this holiday of re-dedication, may we re-dedicate ourselves to ensuring that we are free to share the light that is unique to each of us!