web analytics
September 30, 2014 / 6 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
In Lebanon, smoke rises from a Sunni Muslim dominated neighborhood in Tripoli on August 21, 2014.
Iran, US Equip & Finance Lebanese Army to Fight ISIS
Latest Indepth Stories
terrorists

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

obama

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Ayatollah Hossein-Kazamani Boroujerdi, in better times (left) and in his prison cell (right).

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Senior Hamas and Fatah leaders in Gaza City on April 22. Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to establish a unity government, but since then little progress has been made.

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

Shemita is about relating to each other by temporarily eliminating gaps of wealth power & status

David transcended adversity to become a leader; Who are we to make excuses for a lack of greatness?

sympathy: Feeling sorrow or pity for another’s tribulations; Empathy:sharing an emotional experience

Last week the president announced a four-point plan. Unfortunately, there’s little buy-in from our European and Middle Eastern allies. Here’s my own four-point plan that may be more palatable to our allies.

Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]

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

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

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: