Tonight we light candle five of Eight! The glow of the Chanukiah gets brighter with each passing day. One of the interesting parts of Chanukah is that you cannot use the light or heat of the Chanukiah for anything. You can’t warm your hands from the heat of the flames. You are not supposed to read by the light of the chanukiah. Unlike Shabbat candles which can be used to illumine your home or to read with. The lights of the Chanukiah are merely for looking at and for remembering the miracles of the rededication of the Temple.
We call this ‘Pirsum et haMitzvah’ to publicize the miracle of Chanukah! The lights of the chanukiah are placed in a window so the world can share in the miracle of this holiday. The lights of the chanukiah are to send a message to the non-Jewish world that Jews are proud of who they are and of their commitment to Jewish ideals and faith. Just as the Maccabees restored the Temple and rebuilt a Jewish life in the Holy Land, we are proclaiming our restored faith in a Jewish way life even in and amongst a secular world!
At other times we proclaim a message internally like at the Passover seder when we retell the story of our liberation from Egyptian bondage. We re-enact it through the seder meal and special foods and questions. Whether we pour out the wine for the ten plagues or have the youngest ask the four questions or search for the afikomen, we are telling fellow Jews and ourselves about our origins and affirming our continuation of our people when we say L’shana Habah B’yrushalim–Next year in Jerusalem. We are Jewish into the future.
At Chanukah we are proclaiming our message of rededication to our ideals and faith to the outside world. Hence we publicize our holiday through the lighting and glow of the flames of the Chanukiah.
So on this fifth night of eight-let us send out the light of our proclamation to the world. We publicize the miracles of Chanukah and of our continuing faith in God and miracles!
Happy Night Five!