The festival of Chanukah, or Hanukkah, begins today and commemorates miracles that occurred in the second century BCE after the Maccabees defeated the Seleucids. The Maccabees were "a small band of faithful Jews," the Seleucids "one of the mightiest armies on Earth." When the Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, they kept its menorah lit for eight days off a single day's oil supply. Modern day festival celebration occurs over eight nights and centers menorah lighting, accompanied by blessings, song, foods fried in oil (latkes), and Hanukkah gelt (gifts, traditionally money).
The fact a single night's oil supply lasted eight nights is miraculous; however, it seems the greater miracle of Hanukkah occurred when the little Maccabees defeated the big Seleucids. During Hanukkah, the V’Al HaNissim gets added to daily prayer "to offer praise and thanksgiving to G‑d for 'delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few ... the wicked into the hands of the righteous.'" The sound of candle flicker whispers, "Never be afraid to stand up for what's right." Beautiful.
I hear Hanukkah whispers echoing through LFP. Over a year and a half later, I experience an already-stocked pantry as miraculous, that first stock at project launch lasting more than 579 days. I recognize a force beyond ourselves at work through the project, that work done by and for the weak, the few. And while I wouldn't presume to claim righteousness, to me what we do feels right at a time when much feels wrong.
Be the light.
Happy Hanukkah to those celebrating.
Please enjoy The Maccabeats' "Hasmonean," a parody of Hamilton. It's an informative and fun way to learn more about those long ago events with a story for tonight. For Hamilton fans "My Shot's" call to "Rise up" even echoes the lesson, "Never be afraid to stand up for what's right."