Photo Credit: Jewish Press

We are feeling the darkness. Everything feels like choshech. Yet, with Kislev comes the neis of Chanukah, the eternal light of Am Yisrael burning bright. We must remember to cling tightly to the words we sing as we kindle our menorahs. “Maoz tzur yeshuasi – Hashem is my rock of my salvation.” In a moment the pach shemen is discovered, the Chasmonaim defeat their enemies, and we once again are surrounded by the wonders and love of Hashem.

After 9/11, my mother warned about the dangers facing us throughout the world. Many times, she exclaimed that there is no such thing as random. When we delude ourselves thinking that happenings are simply nature and a world gone mad, we are denying the hand of Hashem in our life.


A chassidic rebbe was walking with his disciples and noticed a little boy who was crying bitterly, hiding behind a tree.

“Why are you crying?” he asked.

“I’m crying because no one is looking for me.”

The rebbe, himself began to cry. “Hashem is waiting for us to find Him and no one is looking for Him.”

We know that we are entering the final stages of ikvesa d’Meshicha – the footsteps of Mashiach. How long it will last we cannot know. But we do have the words of Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer who writes that before the coming of Mashiach we will be forced to contend with a most cruel source of tribulation – the Yishmaelim. Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote that before the final curtain falls upon the final stage of history, the sons of Yishmael will inflict unbearable torture upon our people.

We are the generation who has been witness to the prophecy given to Hagar. “Behold you will conceive and give birth to a son and you shall name him Yishmael… he will be a wild beast of a man with his hand against everyone…”

What should we do now?

Yaakov Avinu wanted to reveal to his children the end of days. They surrounded his bedside as he was about to leave this world. But Hashem did not want the time of the End to be known. The shechina, G-d’s presence, deserted him. Am Yisrael would have to find comfort not in deadlines, but in their emunah, and their commitment to living a life of Torah and mitzvos.

Yet, despite the holding back of the actual date of the geulah, Yaakov Avinu did leave us with a gift. How will you get through that difficult time? How can you, my children, hasten the arrival of the Mashiach?

Heasfu….Hikabzu v’shimu – gather yourselves, keep together, and listen.” The only way to merit the final redemption is by joining together in unity. Unite together and do not see your differences. Instead see that which brings you together. Hear each other’s voice. Listen to one another. In achdus there is strength.

As we celebrate the miracle of Chanukah let us ask ourselves: who can I invite to join me? How can I bring a feeling of unity to our people? Welcome a fellow Jew, your brother, your sister, who have never truly experienced the blessing of singing “Maoz tzur,” “Haneiros halalu” and the spiritual light that Chanukah brings.

Heasfu. Hikabzu. Shimu.” Now is the time.


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Slovie Jungreis Wolff is a noted teacher, author, relationships and lecturer. She is the leader of Hineni Couples and the author of “Raising A Child With Soul.” She gives weekly classes and has lectured throughout the U.S., Canada, and South Africa. She can be reached at [email protected].