Everywhere we look there are festive decorations on doorways and lamp posts, shop front, and billboards. Holiday melodies circle our heads, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” They fill the air in our local coffee shops and grocery stores. It’s almost impossible not to get swept up in the revelry, and we should celebrate! Celebration, after all, is the greatest expression of our joy and gratitude.
Chanukah is synonymous with miracles, and we have eight days allotted to revealing them. You’ve heard the expression ‘like kids in a candy store’. This is a perfect description of Chanukah! There are few times of the year when “The Gates of Heaven” are as wide open as they are now during Chanukah. These eight days are a time of miracles because endless Light is abundantly available to all of us. Best of all, it’s here for the taking.
The energy bank is open, grab as much as you can. – Rav Berg
Kabbalistically, each holiday requires specific consciousness and tools that allow you to access the energy and gifts that are unique to certain windows of time. How do we ‘grab’ all the blessings that are available? During Chanukah our challenge is to really appreciate the constant miracles in our lives. For instance, continual miracles include waking up every day, the sun rising, appreciating your wonderful partners, children and friends. Developing a consistent appreciation for miracles is so important, because you cannot draw additional miracles into your life unless you see and appreciate the miracles that are already there.
(By the way, how are your gratitude lists coming along? Do you add to the list every day?)
But what is a miracle? And how do we understand and classify what a miracle is? According to Wikipedia, a miracle is a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine, or to put it another way, it is a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment.
There are only two ways to live our lives; one is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein
We need to embrace the “impossible” – something we can only do once our view of the world has changed so thoroughly that we believe that anything and everything is possible. Once we change our perspective, and go beyond what we think makes sense, as well as appreciate the miracle of everyday life, that is when miracles will overflow into our lives.
One day, a famous kabbalist called the Baal Shem Tov was walking with one of his students through the middle of a forest. They had been walking for quite some time and still had much further to go. As they walked, the student became increasingly thirsty and said to the Baal Shem Tov, “I am going to faint if I do not get some water very quickly”. The Baal Shem Tov turned to him and said, “Do you have certainty that the Light of the Creator knew forever that this day you were going to become thirsty and were going to need water?” The student had his doubts and he didn’t want to lie to the Baal Shem Tov, yet he wished he had that level of certainty, so he replied, “I have complete certainty”.
A few moments later a man with a bucket of water on his shoulders approached from the opposite direction and the Baal Shem Tov called to him and he asked if he would mind sharing his water. Curious, the Baal Shem Tov asked, “What are you doing here in the middle of the forest with a bucket of water?” The man replied, “My employer was acting so strangely today. Even though we have a well very nearby he told me he needed water from a well that is all the way across the forest! So here I am, carrying this water back to him.” The Baal Shem Tov said to his student, “You see? When you have constant certainty in miracles, they will happen to you all the time.”
From this parable the Baal Shem Tov explains that it is certainty, our certainty, that draws miracles and blessings into our lives. With certainty, what before we had categorized as impossible or at the very least highly improbable, will not feel beyond reach anymore. Living with profound appreciation for our constant blessings has the side effect of absolute certainty.
Can you imagine the joy of living every day and being completely aware of all the miracles that surround you? You would be the happiest person in the world every single day of your life. Miracles through certainty and the joy that comes from truly appreciating the miracles that we already have in our lives is the true gift of Chanukah.
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
Do you need a miracle in your life or do you know someone who needs one in theirs? Practice your certainty that these miracles will occur. Let your mind entertain no doubts that they will happen. Focus on greater and greater appreciation for the constant miracles in your life.