THE STORY OF CHANUKA: REVEALING THE LIGHT WITHIN!
By Sherrie B. Miller
One of the main themes of Chanuka deals with hidden flask of oil that was recovered
by the Chashmonaim and used to relight the Menorah.
There is something inherent in the Jewish nation as a whole and each Jew in particular
that cannot be defiled or lost under any circumstances. There is an indestructible
bond between Hashem and us that is everlasting, a light that will shine forever.
But unfortunately today, despite this fact, many of us are living in the darkness.
We are unable to connect with the greatness that lies within, the Pristine Neshama,
a spark of Hashem. He entrusted us with crucial responsibility to kindle that spark
into a passionate flame. Darkness was the essence of the Greeks. By attempting to
distance us from Hashem and ourselves, His Holy Sparks of Light, they’d hoped to
keep the world enveloped in the darkness and emptiness of materialism and hedonism.
They understood that their Greek civilization could not exist if we Jews caused
the Light of Hashem to shine brightly in the world. The genuine Light of our magnitude
must emanate from the inside out!
This message is conveyed by the windows in the Holy Temple which were narrow on
the inside and wide outside, in order to emit the vast Light from inside, out to
the world. So too must our inner light be transmitted outward to influence our surroundings.
Therefore, we are commanded to light the chanuka lights at the entrance of the house,
or near a window to enlighten the all those around us and influence them to reach
for the light. We must work arduously to reveal the light from within, both on a
personal and a national level. The gematria of the word “light” is equal to that
of the word “secret” (raz). When one wishses to light up the world, one must be
rooted in a deep self-awareness and appreciation. It takes a lifetime to reveal
and develop all of the secret resources that lie within. This is important to remember
when we meet someone that we are attracted to, but don't fine "everything" in them
that we are looking for! If the main ingredients are there, (i.e. physical attraction
and a good heart) then we will help each other for a lifetime to uncover and develop
all the hidden talents and abilities that lie within.
Before one is ready to embark on finding a partner, they must first have a profound
sense of their intrinsic greatness and value regardless of external factors; they
must know who they are and what they stand for! If you don’t know who “you” are,
how can you possibly identify the “right one” to spend your life with?
The Torah is not advocating superiority or haughtiness. If we take the words of
the Torah seriously, then we must understand that “love your neighbor as yourself”,
indicates that to be emotionally healthy means to love yourself. This is so, because
in order to learn to love another, you must have the capacity to love and appreciate
yourself and be committed to investing in your growth and development. As I give
to myself in a balanced way, I am able to be a giver to one close to me. A healthy
self-concept is essential in becoming a giver which is the foundation of a successful
relationship. A deficiency in one’s self-image often leads to difficulties in marriage,
when stress and pressure is inevitable.
Before entering into a serious relationship, be true to yourself and evaluate your
self-image. Is it optimistic and positive? If it is, great! You are ready to seek
your soul mate. If it isn’t get advice and work on it before becoming involved in
a serious relationship. In his book “Eight Nights-Eight Gifts of the Soul,” Rabbi
Apisdorf encourages us to realize our greatness by constantly trying to actualizing
our potential and says: “As we engage in the process of shaping ourselves, one of
the pivotal factors that ultimately determines the nature and contours of our vessel
is our self-perception. Eventually most of us reach a point in life when we look
at ourselves and say, “this is who I am.” At that moment we unknowingly cross a
threshold and in doing so we give a final shape to our vessels- to ourselves. At
the moment that we proclaim “this is who I am,” we relegate most everything else
to the realm of “that’s just not me.”
When we dare to defy what we would ordinarily expect of ourselves, when we make
an effort to give new shape to our vesssels, we then become capable of receiving
a light that should only have shined for a day but that in fact continues to shine,
Chag Urim Sameach!
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish matchmaker on SawYouAtSinai
and a dating coach in Jerusalem. She received her counseling degree from the Michlala
in Jerusalem and an M.A. in Jewish Education from Touro College. Sherrie is certified
by Midreshet Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital
couple’s counselor and Kallah teacher.
This Jewish Dating Column is brought to you by SawYouAtSinai, the Jewish Matchmaking
service. Articles are often written by Jewish matchmakers, to help Jewish singles