Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

We are living in an age were technology rules the world.

And yet there are eight days in the year that a small flickering light shown from the small wicks of the Chanukah menorah, shines bright and lights up the world like no electricity or technology can ever do.

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I live in Jerusalem and indeed during the holidays it’s truly an example of how the Jewish Nation shines above all other religions in the world. Its customs and traditions fill the air with beauty and strength forever.

As I walked through the streets this week the small lights of the menorah shone from almost every window. The darkness of the night was suddenly pushed away by all these beautiful lights.

There is a big menorah set up right in front of the Kotel. So many people gathered together in front of the Western Wall and sang together the blessings and songs over the Chanukah lights.

Can it be that generations ago it was right in this exact place that the courageous Chashmonaim found the small vessel of oil that lasted eight days, and defeated the Greeks?

Living in Israel all of our history comes to life right in front of our eyes. We are reliving each holiday and special memorial days as if they happened just a few days ago.

When we are children we grow up in a certain home. As we grow older we move along in life and set up our own homes.

However, whenever we return for a visit to our home town or to the home we grew up in, we always feel a sense of security and warm feeling of love and happiness.

During the Jewish holidays in Israel, one can actually feel as if they are going back in time to the first time that holiday occurred and can picture themselves actually there. A feeling of going back home, can be felt so strongly here in Israel.

The miracle of Chanukah occurred over 2,000 years ago, and yet standing at the Kotel this week, I closed my eyes and saw the Chashmonaim lighting that small vessel of oil that they found, right above the menorah that we were lighting now in 2021.

In the Jewish calendar there is no past and present. Each time we connect to the holiday at hand we can actually feel the first time it was celebrated. The land of Israel is like the home we grew up in. This land is connected to our forefathers and mothers. This is the land that Hashem gave us after our long exile in Egypt, and this is the land that Hashem chose to live in. In this land Hashem gave us the two temples that stood so proudly for so many years, and this is the place that G-d will return to and dwell upon once more in the full redemption, please G-d soon.

It’s written that Hashem’s eyes are always in the land, looking and protecting us.

As I walked the streets of Jerusalem this week looking at the lit up menorahs just by a small wick, I truly felt G-d’s eyes everywhere.

Each menorah looked like the menorah in the holy temple and every Jew looked like the high priest lighting the menorah in the Beit HaMikdash.

I live in Nachlaot, an old neighborhood in the heart of Jerusalem. The small cobbled stoned roads and small dark passageways light up the night this week with so much love and togetherness.

Today we have cars, trains and planes and can get almost everywhere in the world. But long ago most people stayed put in their homes and towns, and only the merchants would travel far and near to bring their products to all the residents.

The feeling of closeness and solidarity was much more present long ago. People had one another and they stuck together. Today so many people have the ability to go anywhere, and see whomever they wish, and yet so many people are alone and sad today.

In my old neighborhood the closeness of ages ago and the togetherness was felt so strongly.

Friends and anyone who passed by joined the singing and the candle lighting and the small streets shown so beautifully.

There was so much love and strength, sitting around the lights singing into the night and Hashem’s eyes were felt so well.

No fancy technology no fancy lights; just family, friends, neighbors and people who passed by, filled the air and the night with so much light and hope.

Let us pray that Hashem returns speedily to His home and fills the land and the world once more with a holiness and happiness and light that will heal us all from any pain and darkness forever.

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Michal can be reached at michal@jewishpress.com