Chanukah – The Light of Inclusion and Hope
As we gather to celebrate the last night of Chanukah we are reminded of the lessons this holiday imparts, especially pertinent in our current times which can often seem overshadowed by darkness and uncertainty. Chanukah is not merely a commemoration of a historical miracle; it is a beacon of hope, illuminating the enduring power of faith, resilience, and community.
At the heart of Chanukah is the miracle of the oil in the Bet Hamikdash. A small jar of oil, sufficient for just one day, miraculously burned for eight, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair. This miracle resonates deeply with the experiences of individuals with disabilities. In many ways, they embody the miracle of the oil, consistently surpassing limitations and expectations, shining brightly in ways we might not have anticipated. Their resilience and strength serve as a source of inspiration, reminding us that light can indeed emerge from darkness.
Chanukah also teaches us about the importance of inclusion and belonging. Just as each night of Chanukah, a new light is added to the menorah, we are reminded of the value of adding and acknowledging every individual’s light within our community. Belonging means ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, has the opportunity to contribute their unique light. Each person, like each flame on the menorah, has a distinct role to play in our community, and it is our collective responsibility to nurture and appreciate their contributions.
The menorah we light on Chanukah is more than a commemoration of an ancient miracle; it is a symbol of hope and resilience in these challenging times. As we light each candle, we are not only dispelling the physical darkness around us but also the darkness of isolation, fear, and misunderstanding that can affect individuals with disabilities. Each flame is a declaration of our commitment to creating a world of understanding, acceptance, and love. It is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, hope can prevail, and light can emerge.
Together, let us continue to build a community that values and includes everyone, embodying the true spirit of Chanukah, and ensuring that the light of the Jewish people continues to burn brightly in our world. May that hope also bring peace and security for our brothers and sisters in Israel and a speedy, safe return of all of the hostages to their loved ones.
Chag Sameach and Am Yisroel Chai,