The Jewish nation is definitely one of a kind. We are always celebrating something.
From the three major holidays of Sukkot, Passover and Shavout, to the month of Elul and all of Tishrei, to Purim and now, of course, Chanukah.
And let’s not forget that when there are no holidays there is always Shabbat, a bris, a bar mitzvah, or a kiddush in shul for some occasion. Jews can always find a reason to celebrate. Celebrating is an intrinsic part of being a Jew. We are always finding a reason to be happy.
In most celebrations and holidays, in order to feel the happiness of the day we must plan well: who to invite, which friends and family, which foods to buy and what special out fit to wear?
Everyone hopes their holidays and special celebrations will go according to their plans. But not everyone is blessed with a plentiful hand. Some live alone, some have family that are far away, some are poor and others might not be well or are in a hospital. And there are others who might be in prison or in other dark situations.
But holidays come, no matter what. Even without any special foods or clothing, no special people or family around. Just them and the holiday. That in itself is a wonderful miracle.
Each special holiday arrives as the evening falls, and that marks the beginning of the holiday, and that is when the energies in the atmosphere change.
The special mitzvot of that day come and lift us from sadness to happiness. The special prayers that are selected for each and every holiday greet us and help direct our thoughts and energies to the right place.
While a grandiose affair is much more appealing and exciting, we have no idea what sudden turns our lives might take or in what difficult situations we might find ourselves at that point in time.
To have our happiness or state of mind controlled by people, places or events will simply leave us dependent and usually depressed. G-d, in his infinite wisdom, created the world and all it entails with such precise and exquisite beauty. The beauty of the creation is a constant miracle that we simply see as Nature, when in fact every second of existence is one big miracle.
A person can be anywhere in the world and he or she can feel the holiness of the holiday or of the Shabbat, no matter what.
This isn’t to say that there are not obstacles on the path. When a person looks to see how to be happy with whatever it is that Hashem has given him, he will find it. The time of the holidays just give an extra push and support in the right direction and makes it so much easier to achieve happiness.
In life there will always be thoughts and distractions trying to keep us from achieving our goal. Our job is to focus on going ahead despite all the challenges G-d sends our way.
Chanukah is a festival of lights. It’s a time that if we remind ourselves to focus on the major light in our lives, which are all the good things we have, we will surely find it. Everyone has something good in their life, no matter what the situation is. This, my friends, is the greatest miracle on this holiday.
This is a time during which we can receive such great wealth, no matter what our physical situation at hand might be. Whether we light the menorah with oil or with candles, whether we are alone or with a group of family or friends, whether we are well or ill, free or closed away somewhere, we still have the choice to allow the holiness and the lights to seep into our hearts and dark places inside of us.
Each holiday has a special and different power that we can gather strength from and energy to take us onward in life. It is our duty to soak in each special time on the Jewish calendar and see how it enhances our very being, just by arriving. There is a reason that each holiday has different mitzvot and costumes attached to it. This in order to extract the maximum benefits for our bodies and souls in this world and in the next.
Chanukah has a special purpose with each light that is lit. It’s known that at the time of candle lighting all the heavens are open; it’s a time of mercy and all harsh judgments step aside. It’s a time of praying for peace and plenty, and for our desire that G-d’s name be glorified in this world.
The holy kabbalists say that on each and every night of the holiday, when we light the candles, a different attribute of Hashem’s qualities awakens. These traits are taken from the morning services in the blessing of Yotzeir Ohr right before Shema.
The first night is “po’el gevorot” – G-d works with mightiness.
The second night is “baal hamilchamot” – G-d is the master of the war.
The third night is “oseh chadashot” – G-d creates news.
The forth night is “zore’ah tzedakot” – G-d plants charity.
The fifth night is “matzmi’ach yeshuot” – G-d grows the salvation.
The sixth night is “borei refu’ot” – G-d creates new remedies to heal the sick.
The seventh night is “nora tehilot” – awesome is G-d’s glory.
The eight night is” adon hanifla’ot” – G-d is master of all wonders.
Hashem runs this world in many different ways. The Almighty does things in a natural state, as opposed to running the world under the category of miracles. Even the “natural state” is a miracle as well.
On the final night of Chanukah, all the miraculous events in the world turn into the “state of nature,” as opposed to miracles.
This will enable us to ask for the biggest miracles and G-d will make it happen naturally just as if it were part of the natural course of the day, without making it seem like it was really a tremendous miracle.
May all our dreams and miracles that we are waiting for come true this Chanukah. May we feel and take in to our very being these wonderful qualities and traits of the Almighty and feel happiness and a sense of uplifting spirituality during this special time of year.