web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

A Generation In Need Of Rededication

Safran-120712

How important are the Chanukah lights to the challenge of our times? Among the laws of Chanukah we find that, “wicks and oils that may not be used on the Shabbat may be used for Chanukah.” Reb Mendel of Kotzl claimed neshamot (ner Hashem nishmat adam) that may resist the beauty and sacredness of Shabbat might be moved by the observance of Chanukah.

Even during the time of the Hasmoneans, when Jews were alienated and removed from Jewish observance, they were moved by Judah Maccabee’s call to join the struggle for Jewish independence, sovereignty and pride.

Another law regarding the lighting of the Chanukah menorah gets closer to the sod of Chanukah observance. If a Jew is unable to light or participate in the lighting of the menorah but merely sees a menorah belonging to someone else, he is permitted to recite two of the blessings recited when kindling the lights – She’asa nissim l’avoteinu (“Who performed miracles for our forefathers”) and Shehecheyanu (the blessing of gratitude for reaching a significant time or season.)

Our gratitude, more than our fear, must define this holiday. Despite the challenges we face, let us take faith from the mighty struggles of our forebears. Let us dedicate the time, resources and energy to bringing our young people back. Let us help them identify with Jewish destiny and history. How? By teaching and learning from them. By listening to them. By showing, through our compassion, sensitivity and care, what it means to truly care for another person rather than an avatar.

Our task is overwhelming but, as Rabbi Tarfon taught, ours is not to complete the task… nor is it to turn away from it. With each simple step, with each modest candle, we will go forward.

We celebrate Chanukah because of the purification of a small can of oil; the triumph of light over darkness. Even after full independence was attained, our festival remained a commemoration of the miracle of lights, not of political supremacy. The purpose of the Hasmonean uprising was not military power; it was light of Torah, mitzvot, commitments, authentic Jewish education, vibrant and dynamic Jewish homes, synagogues and schools.

Only children who learn primary Jewish sources, who study Jewish history, tradition and heritage and who appreciate their ancestors and identify with their language and customs can be expected to be dedicated – even if they merely see the lighted menorah!

The Kedushat Levi concludes that the Talmud’s statement regarding the law of Chanukah, hadlakah osah mitzvah – the actual lighting of the fire is the essence of the mitzvah – has as its ultimate goal to create fire, excitement, enthusiasm and yearning to create light. Jewish education – exciting and creative Jewish education – is the spark to ignite that contagious fire. But study must lead to more than intellectual understanding, or even spiritual insight. Our study must lead to a desire to cleave to our people.

Only light conquers darkness.

It is time we rededicate ourselves to the real purpose of Chanukah. The lights of Chanukah were meant to banish our inner darkness. It is time we emerge from the shadows of the virtual world and illuminate our real world. This year, do your share to let the light in.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Generation In Need Of Rededication”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Steve Emerson, author, journalist and terrorism expert.
Haaretz Smears American Terrorism Expert with Political Hit Job
Latest Indepth Stories
Map of Syria-Turkish border area, pinpointing Kurdish border town of Kobani, just taken by ISIS terror forces Oct 7, 2014.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

The Rosenstrasse area of Berlin, where Jewish husbands of non-Jewish German wives were held.

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Guess who's behind the door?

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Safran
Jonah and the Whale (2012) 23 x 23, bronze relief by Lynda Caspe.

Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.

Eisenstock-082914

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

What defines kana’ut these days? Throwing rocks at passing cars on Shabbos? Burning an Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut?

One who may leave his wife an agunah is not included in the general rule that we may not imprison on Shabbos.

“Fulfill my requests for good, grant my request, be mindful of us for deliverance and compassion…remember us for a good, long life…give us bread to eat, clothes to wear…”

Too often, as parents and teachers, we think it means talking at our children, delivering to them good and worthy content that they should simply hear and assimilate into their minds and hearts.

I was singing, dancing, jumping and, sweating. Just joy and happiness. One child on my shoulders after another. What happiness! And then, the little boy on my shoulders – he could not have been older than six – began to cry.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-generation-in-need-of-rededication/2012/12/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: