Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon was honored with lighting the first candle Sunday evening on the huge Chanukah menorah placed at the Western Wall.
The candle-lighting ceremony took place in the presence of the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz in addition to MK May Golan, Director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation Mordechai (Suli) Eliav and the general public.
“Whoever makes their way to the modest plaza at the foot of the ancient stones and joins the tens of thousands who come to the Western Wall every day, sees that the Western Wall continues to be a place of connection and unity,” Rabbi Rabinowitz said in remarks during the ceremony.
“They see a place where prayers of every kind are recited alongside each other. They see traditional prayers and those that spontaneously erupt from the heart.
“Everyone is attracted to the Western Wall and to the light that shines from it onto the nation and out to the entire world. This year again, we will light the menorah at the Western Wall Plaza every night of Chanukah.
“Rabbis and leaders, the public, people from Israel and from the Diaspora will stand together and be blessed by the light of the candles, the light of the Western Wall, the light of unity and humility, the light of belonging and solidarity which will continue to illuminate humanity for all of eternity.”
Speaking about the “huge privilege” of lighting the first Chanukah candle at the Western Wall, Mayor Leon noted the site is “the remnant of our Temple, where the miracle happened, in Jerusalem, the capital of a free and independent Israel, and to bless – with great joy and wholeheartedly – ‘He Who has granted us life, and sustained us, and brought us to this time.’
“Chanukah is a festival of light, a festival of miracles, a festival of bravery. But the bravery of Hanukkah is not that of soldiers or of physical courage. The bravery of the Hasmoneans is of learners in a Beit Midrash who decided to fight for the privilege of living and returning the glory of Israel’s monarchy.”
Chanukah candle-lighting takes place every evening at 4:30 pm (other than Friday, 29 Kislev (Dec. 23) at 3:30 pm, and Saturday night, 30 Kislev (Dec. 24), at 7:30 pm).