One of the great tragedies of life is that it is so much easier to destroy than to create. Just consider the
And yet. . . people still overwhelmingly choose life over death and good over evil, and things come together at least as much as they fall apart. Why is this? I believe the moral at the heart of human life is not the sad ease of destruction but the miraculous ability of a little light to dispel deep darkness. One small candle can illuminate an entire room. Every day, legions of ordinary men and women perform countless unnoticed acts of valor.
This miracle is at the center of the festival of Chanukah, which begins on Wednesday night. As the story goes, a single cruse of oil burned for eight nights, illuminating the re-dedicated
Over the festival’s eight nights, we burn thirty six Chanukah lights (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8=36). Yes, I know those little blue boxes actually contain forty four candles, but eight of them serve as the nightly shamash, the candle used to kindle the others, which is really just a glorified match rather than a symbol of the holiday itself. Rabbi Nosson Slifkin, author of Seasons of Life, teaches that each Chanukah light represents one of the lamed-vovniks, the legendary thirty six hidden righteous ones of every generation who secretly sustain the world with their light. Again: light is found in unexpected places, and a little goes a very long way.
This week, as Chanukah approaches, try asking yourself: Where do I find light when my world feels dark? And what can I do to kindle light—and blessing and hope—for others?