web analytics
September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Chanukah And Thomas Edison


As the story goes, a young reporter came to interview Thomas Edison about his attempts to invent the light bulb and asked him, “Mr. Edison, why do you persevere with this endeavor, after failing seven hundred times to make it work?”

If Edison was discouraged, it was not apparent.

“Young man,” he replied, “you have got it all wrong. I have not failed seven hundred times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those seven hundred ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is the only holiday we celebrate for a miracle that took place in the land of Israel (BCE). It is also the only holiday celebrated for eight days universally – for Jews living in Israel and outside of Israel.

On Chanukah, we relive the story of the Maccabees, who defeated the evil Syrian Greeks after they ransacked the Holy Temple. The Maccabees found only one cruse of oil with the seal of the high priest in the Temple, enough to last only one day. Yet, miraculously, it lasted eight full days. In response to this miracle, we light candles for eight nights, beginning with one candle on the first night and an additional candle each night.

What lesson can we derive from this holiday, besides eating latkes and donuts and playing dreidel?

When God created the world, the very first thing He did was to create light. The commentaries ask, “Why was light created first?” Light serves only as a medium so that man can see, and man was created on the sixth day. So why create light on Day One?

Even if one argues that plants need light for photosynthesis, those species were not created until Day Three. Finally, the light that was created at the beginning of creation was hidden for the righteous in the world to come, so why create the light and then hide it?

These questions may be understood by considering another question:

What is the first thing one needs in order to build a home? No, it’s not a contractor or an architect or an interior decorator. It’s a vision, a goal. One first needs to know the kind of home one wants to build. Is it a one-story ranch style home, a three-story Brownstone, a colonial mansion, or something completely original and futuristic?

Similarly, before God created the world He put forth His goal, His vision for all humankind. That vision is the vision of light – to permeate the entire creation with the light and knowledge of God. As King Solomon tells us, the candle represents a mitzvah, and the light refers to the knowledge of Torah.

When one studies Torah and performs an act of goodness and kindness, he becomes a Godly conduit to illuminate even the darkest places of the universe. This is the message of Chanukah – to bring the light of God and the warmth of Yiddishkeit to dark and cold wintry nights.

The goal of light on Chanukah has one more dimension: the importance of progress. Chanukah reminds us that what we have accomplished today is not sufficient for tomorrow. For as long as Moshiach has not yet revealed himself, there is more work yet to be done. For this reason we do not light eight candles for eight nights; we light one candle the first night, two candles the next night, and we continue to increase the number of candles each night of Chanukah. Even if we don’t succeed in lighting up the whole world immediately, with perseverance and joy we can make it happen.

Take your cue from Thomas Edison.

About the Author:


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 “Chanukah And Thomas Edison”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Journalist Steven Sotloff hid from his Islamic captors that he was Jewish but fasted on Yom Kippur.
Beheaded Journalist Hid His Judaism from ISIS Captors
Latest Indepth Stories
1347905461_5613_Mideast_Israel_Palestinians_Rosh_Hashana_05475

“these soldiers are on the front lines of a war that the entire world is fighting”

yesha1

Hayovel’s vision: to share with them (Jews) a passion for the soon coming jubilee in yeshua messiah.”

Tibets spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama: In the interest of Tibetans today to have peaceful co-existence with the Chinese.

Hamas Quote on Death

However, 40+ countries still use capital punishment for a variety of offenses.

The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

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

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

More Articles from Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin

As the story goes, a young reporter came to interview Thomas Edison about his attempts to invent the light bulb and asked him, “Mr. Edison, why do you persevere with this endeavor, after failing seven hundred times to make it work?”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/chanukah-and-thomas-edison/2008/12/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: