DAY 521: Publicizing the Miracle of Hanukkah to Family, Neighbors, and Fellow Jews

December 3, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 521: Publicizing the Miracle of Hanukkah to Family, Neighbors, and Fellow Jews

Dear Hevreh,

Last night, I had one of the most memorable Hanukkah experiences of my life as I celebrated the Festival of Lights with my family, my neighbors, and my Jewish community. It wasn’t that one particular moment stood out (though I really enjoyed sharing the story of Hanukkah with 3rd and 4th grade Perth Amboy students), but rather that the overall experience of lighting the candles with so many groups of people truly exemplified the meaning of the mitzvah of pirsumei nisah, of publicizing the miracle of Hanukkah.

The rabbis teach us that the purpose of lighting candles is to share the miracle with everyone around us, which is why we are supposed to light the candles as early as possible (i.e. soon as it gets dark) and to place the candles by a window. This way, as many people as possible will see the lights symbolizing the miracle of Hanukkah on their way home from work and school.

While this requirement to place the lights in public view is still required by Jewish law (halakhah), it is possible that it is no longer accomplishing its mission of sharing the miracle with as many people as possible given our irregular work and school schedules and given the fact that most of us do not live on busy streets with a lot of passerby, no matter what time of day. This is not to mention the fact that lights, particularly at this time of the year, are so ubiquitous that it may not be clear what Hannukah lights are actually symbolizing.

On the other hand, sharing the miracle of Hanukkah with family reminds us to pass the story of the miracle onto the next generation; sharing the miracle of Hanukkah with neighbors teaches the universal message of the power of a few people with passion to make a big difference in the world; and sharing the miracle of Hanukkah with our Jewish community instills the value of coming together to celebrate an eternal ritual of our Jewish tradition.

If that isn’t pirsumei nisa, I don’t know what is.

Kol Tuv and Hag Urim Sameah (Happy Festival of Lights),

Rabbi Ari Saks

P.S. Speaking of publicizing, if you have a Facebook account please click on this link and share this post about your support of the Rubber Duck Race on your Facebook timeline

Category : Hanukkah Middlesex Jewish News Perth Amboy News Rabbi's Journal Rubber Duck Race
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