by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
Jewish tradition teaches that we are each to light our own hanukkiah – or Hanukkah candelabrum, and that even children should have their own. Lighting the hanukkiah is one of those mitzvot (commandments) that we can only do for ourselves. Unlike Shabbat candlelighting and many prayers, no one else can provide for us the fulfillment of thismitzvah. We can stand together, we can sing together, we can share in the radiance of the lights, but we must each do the lighting ourselves.
So it is, too, with healing our hurts. Others can love us and support us, stand beside us and encourage us, but we are the only ones, together with G!d, who can do the inner work that shifts our world toward wholeness.
Hanukkah Day 1 – Dispelling Fear and Finding Courage
Hanukkah Day 2 – Acknowledging Greed and Encouraging Generosity
Hanukkah Day 3 – Eviscerating Guilt by Responding with Action
Hanukkah Day 4 – Diminishing Despair and Growing Trust and Faith
Hanukkah Day 5 – Understanding Anger and Cultivating Compassion, Contentment, and Joy
Hanukkah Day 6 – Resisting Jealousy and Strengthening Gratitude
Hanukkah Day 7 – Healing Hurts and Promoting Well-being
All of us carry hurts. Some of them have been with us since childhood, others are fresh from a moment ago. In about the year 1230, Rabbi Hasdai wrote, "Light is perceived only out of darkness." Out of the darkness of our hurts, the light of learning and growing and becoming more compassionate can shine – we can be transformed. Our transformation is our healing, and one of the gifts it brings with it is the light that then shines forth to others who are struggling, bringing healing and a sense of well-being to them as well.
As the number of candles in our hanukkiah increases, so may the lights in the darkest recesses of our souls, in the places of our greatest hurt, may healing begin and grow brighter and brighter with each successive day. May it be so for us, and may it be so for our precious Earth.
Chag Urim Sameach – Happy Hanukkah!