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, even today.”
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 connect.