Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. How will you bring light to this dark Kislev night? The first light of Chanukah ignites more than just a flame. It is illumination in dark corners. It brings the light of creation, of holiness and God into a previously empty setting. Just like before God started to create the universe, the Torah tells us it was tohu v’vohu/ chaos and void. So it was with the time before the Grand Menorah was rekindled in the era of the Maccabees. It was tohu v’vohu/chaos and void as Antiochus and the Greek-Syrians overtook the Temple and polluted the holy precincts. They took the sacred space dedicated to Oneness and split the energy dividing it up for their many gods.
The rekindling of the golden lampstand that first instant, brought a new holiness and spiritual openness to the sacred space and to the Jewish people. That first light rededicated the holy space to that Oneness of God and the Jewish people embodied by the covenantal promise.
So on this very first night of Chanukah, as the world seems so chaotic; as ignorance and intolerance continue to be coddled rather than erased, light the first light of Chanukah and bring about a moment of spiritual purity, spiritual openness and yes, enlightenment. Remember this first light and first night is dedicated to the Oneness and Unity of God and the Jewish people. Reflect on the light of the Menorah and as our tradition teaches us share it with others. Place its light in a window for all to share in this holy light. And let the light of the menorah glow brightly in any dark corners of your life bringing with it hope and joy and faith. Happy Chanukah.