During this month of miracles, nothing seems ordinary. Snowmen come to life (at least on the screen), people randomly break into song, and even the coldest of nights feel warmed by the bright displays of color. And on Sunday, Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, begins, opening a rare portal of opportunity for us to connect with the miracle behind the miracle. Are you ready to open the blinds?
Remember “the man behind the curtain” in The Wizard of Oz? Dorothy and her friends believed that their wishes would be granted by a real wizard–as long as they obeyed the thunderous voice (which, by the way, was punctuated by some rather impressive light tech for the time!). However, the so-called wizard turned out to be a smallish, gray-haired man bellowing through a heck of a sound system from behind a curtain. The jig was up. And the magic was gone… or was it?
Because the characters who had obeyed that booming voice when it tested their courage, empathy, intelligence, and determination did not shrink from their newfound gifts, even after the wizard’s unmasking. Instead, they were led to an even greater power: the realization that they’d performed the miracles on their own! The real wizard had been within them all along.
Which brings me back to the greatest gift we’re offered during Chanukah. This gift needs neither a package nor a sparkly, pretty bow. When we light the Chanukah menorah, we witness the source of all our miracles–the creative force behind the man behind the curtain. The candles’ light connects us with the greater Light, made brighter in the dark of winter. And when we connect wholly to this cosmic channel, anything and everything becomes possible!
The Rav wrote that we expand our capacity to usher in miracles when we go beyond merely seeing the light and instead practice being the light.
But how can we possibly BE like light? It’s easier than you think. If you take a candle and light another with it, does the original flame diminish? Of course not! In fact, it’s the opposite: the original flame burns on just as brightly while having made the space brighter through its sharing. Likewise, each of us has a unique way we can better the world. When we give of ourselves–not just to our families, but to our communities and to those beyond our circles–we enter into the light consciousness behind every miracle that ever was or will be.
The story of Chanukah tells of the ancient battle between the Maccabees and the Greeks, where a small band of soldiers overcame a mighty army. As Rav Berg explained in Days of Power, the Maccabees did not win because they had better weapons or because some giant hand swooped down from the sky to save them. Their victory was a factor of the consciousness they brought into the fight. While the enemy wanted power and glory for themselves, the Maccabees fought for their people–to gain back the freedom to live, pray, and continue the tradition of mitzvot, or good deeds, that had been taken from them. Because their intention in battle went beyond their own selfish desires, they had the Light of the Creator on their side.
Later in the story, a small jar of pure oil–about a day’s worth–was discovered at the holy temple. Instead of lasting for one day, the oil lasted eight days. While the lighting of the menorah pays tribute to that miracle, its symbolism goes even deeper–behind the curtain, so to speak–to connect directly with the Light itself. Because that Light doesn’t belong to any one person, religion, group, or part of the world. It is for everyone, and it is up to us to use it to help banish the darkness. And (bonus!), by helping to channel and reveal more Light where and when we can, we also create a circuit through which more blessings can flow back to us. The energy moves in both directions… and that is how we invite miracles into our lives!
You don’t have to celebrate Chanukah to tap into the potent energy of this time. Whether you are gazing at twinkling lights on the street, setting candles on a family table, or practicing another tradition or ritual related to the idea of light, you are part of a mystical whole that seeks connection, not division. This is the true light consciousness.
So instead of believing in miracles, we can set out to help create them! The world needs us to pull back the curtains, turn up our lanterns, and shine in all the ways we can… and not just for eight days, but for the rest of the year and beyond.
I wish you a happy, bright, and extraordinary holiday–in all the ways most meaningful to you!
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So beautiful and a wonderful metaphor for the miracle of Chanukah! Thank you.