Congregation B'nai Jacob "Rich in Tradition - Dynamic & Inclusive in Approach"
A THOUGHT FOR HANUKKAH
Why does a hanukkiah (the menorah for Hanukkah) have eight branches, you ask?
It is odd, I know, since the original Menorah in the Temple in Jerusalem long ago had only seven branches.
But we have an eight branch candelabra today to celebrate the miracle of the time when the Jews liberated the ancient Temple, restored their worship service and relit the Menorah. While the original candelabra lit by the heroic liberators known as the Maccabees had seven branches, the hanukkiah we use on Hanukkah was created to remind us of the miracle of that event; for there was only enough oil to burn for one day but the Menorah continued to illuminate in the Temple for eight days.
And that is the reason for the eight branch hanukkiah we use on Hanukkah.
You knew all that. Your question is why are there eight branches since the first day was actually not a miracle? There was enough oil for one day; Hanukkah should just be a 7 day holiday.
But on the first night, we do celebrate a miracle, the most powerful one of all.
The miracle of hope that beats strongly in the hearts of humanity.
Knowing that there was not enough oil, the Maccabees should have waited until enough oil was available.
But on that first day, they felt the people needed to be given hope. To light the Menorah with not enough oil would be an audacious act of hope that would inspire a nation.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said it so well.
Optimism is a belief, a feeling that things will be better.
Hope is an act that declares we can and will make things better.
On that first day, the Maccabees demonstrated to the people the radical notion of hope and how we can always make things better.
That was the miracle of the first day.
More than lighting a lamp and praying that it not go out.
But demonstrating the miracle of hope that can never be extinguished.
Hag Urim Sameach.
Rabbi Victor Urecki
schedule for november 29th - december 5th, 2021
Hag Urim Sameach! Happy Hanukkah!
Most of us are "boosted", but we will continue to exercise an abundance of caution and ask everyone in attendance to be vaccinated and wear masks at all services to protect our senior members, those with weakened immune systems, and those who are at an increased risk.
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For the safety, we communicate with the parents of our children through 'Remind'. If you have a child and would like to join our Sunday sessions this year or study Hebrew, please text Rabbi Urecki at (304) 549-6044. Hebrew lessons have begun.