In this new Hanukkah series, I’ll be sharing a daily question and some inspiration for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. The questions will be geared toward what creates light within you that you share with the world, and they will be great for journaling, and discussing with friends. Tonight’s question is: What do you know for sure?
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The Light of Hanukkah
Hanukkah begins Sunday, December 18, 2022. This festival always occurs in the darkest month of the year. We light the hanukkiah (menorah) for eight nights but we begin with just one (actually, two if you count the shamash, the helper candle.)
With each subsequent night, we increase the light by adding one new candle. The custom of adding one more candle to our hanukkiah comes from the Talmud, which stressed the principle of adding light and holiness into the world.
Hanukkah means “rededication.”
Each night, in this Hanukkah series, we will dedicate the night’s lighting to a particular question.
On the first night, we dedicate our lighting to what we know for sure.
Let’s start with the unknown. I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more it seems that I don’t know. The last bunch of years has emphasized this. Information has exploded and yet uncertainty abounds.
And yet — acknowledging that the unknown is part of life and that it even can be positive, o
pens up a whole new world.
Being in the unknown can feel like darkness itself, where the light is obliterated. Yet, the darkness is often the birthplace of creativity.
In his poem, Sweet Darkness, David Whyte suggests that darkness can be like “a womb” and “…the night will give you a horizon further than you can see.”
While we recognize all that is unknown, there are also some things that we know for sure. These are hard-earned life lessons, values, and principles that guide your life each day. They may be as simple as “when I’m feeling down, putting on some upbeat music is guaranteed to lift my spirit.” And they also may be bedrock beliefs about human nature “people are basically good at heart” that you embody in your daily life.
1st night of Hanukkah question:
What is ONE thing that you know for sure?
While we can learn to tolerate the darkness and be patient with what is being born in the unknown, we can also add light into our lives.
Our Hanukkah tradition teaches that we light ever-increasing candles. We keep adding to the light – the light not only from our candles, but the light of consciousness, awareness, and gratitude.
What do I know for sure? I know for sure that light follows darkness. I trust that day will follow night, both literally and figuratively. In dark places, I now assume that some light will emerge. The light may be a friend with exactly the teaching I need to hear or a piece of music that lightens my mood or a walk in the woods with the light appearing just so between the branches of my favorite trees.
One candle has the power to light up the darkness. One thing that we know for sure can give us faith and hope.
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For my favorite potato latkes recipe click here.
For the Hanukkah candle blessings, click here.