21 December 2016
This week’s Torah portion – Vayeshev – begins with a brief sentence: “Jacob dwelt in the land of his father’s sojournings, the land of Canaan.” Commentators note the intimation that Jacob was more settled than his father Isaac; implying that succeeding generations may feel more comfortable and settled in the land than did their ancestors.
Tomorrow night, we light the first Chanukah candle and celebrate the holiday in a land of freedom, a land in which we feel more settled than our parents and grandparents. We are commanded to proudly display the lit chanukiah or menorah in a window for all to see.
The story of Chanukah has changed for me over time. From the simple “miracle of oil” story, it has become a complex historical study of the dispute between Jewish religious zealots and Jewish assimilationists and deniers of tradition. While I continue to learn in an effort to better understand the multiple meanings of Chanukah, I remain inspired by the image and dual message of candles burning in the window: a bold statement to the world of Jewish pride, while at the same time reflecting inward the quiet warmth and beauty of our heritage.
In these waning days of the calendar year 2016, thousands of community members are showing their pride for our Jewish heritage by making a year-end contribution to Federation’s Annual Campaign. If you have not yet made your gift, please donate now to make your 2016 tax-deductible contribution. Your support ensures that our community can continue to be responsive to the most vulnerable among us for years to come.
“It is far better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” And during this Chanukah holiday, as the wintertime days are shortest and darkest, your individual gift will be a light. Together, we will create a beacon of hope, welcoming and strength.
Chag Chanukah Same’ach (Happy Chanukah),