December 18, 2014
Reading time: 4 minutes
Appreciation, Happiness, Spiritual Tools


“The energy bank is open, grab as much as you can.” -Rav Berg

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 8 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.

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.


In our day to day lives, we feel grateful, yes, but we are not awestruck by seeing our child’s face, or filled with joy just because we opened our eyes and were alive one more day. This is completely normal. Humans just aren’t built to sustain that level of awe! For instance, have you ever been struck speechless, so overwhelmed that you almost couldn’t process what you were seeing? Perhaps you were in the presence of great art at the Uffizi, stepped through the doors of a mighty, soaring cathedral like Notre Dame, peered down on the whole of Manhattan from the top of the Empire State Building or stood in the shade of an immense sequoia tree. At first you are absolutely overcome, but within minutes that awe fades and you become accustomed and immune to the grandeur. The kabbalists teach that this is because a veil exists that prevents us from fully experiencing the awe of our constant miracles.

Sometimes the veil is drawn back and we are overwhelmed by our blessings, but sadly the veil is most often drawn back by tragedy or fear. Every year there are devastating tornadoes in the mid-western U.S. that destroy homes and often separate families. I recall my husband and I watching news coverage of a mother who was searching for her young son in the aftermath of a tornado that had completely leveled her home. On any other day, the loss of her home would have been devastating and foremost on her mind, however, the immensity of the joy and appreciation that she felt when she was reunited with her son left no room for sadness for the loss of her possessions. She couldn’t have cared less, because she had found what was most important to her. The terror of losing her son had drawn back the veil and she was flooded with awareness of him as a constant miracle.

I share this story because while extreme, it is this level of profound gratitude that we can aspire to experience this month because the gates of heaven are open, the veils are all drawn back. This lesson is almost worthless any other time of the year because the veils are so firmly in place. Yet now, during Chanukah, we have the opportunity to access this powerful level appreciation for our own constant miracles.


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.



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.


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