As a parent it is difficult to know how to handle this holiday, how to properly mix the spiritualism and materialism. As a child I remember Chanukah being a wonderful time because of the presents but also because of the family presence around the Chanukah lighting. How do I teach my children the importance of the holiday and allow them to celebrate the joy of being children?

The beauty of light is that even the smallest amount of light will banish the darkness.

Chanukah is the festival of lights. We light candles (or oil) to commemorate the miracle, but there is a deeper symbolism. Darkness is the absence of light. The story of Chanukah is the story of the Greeks trying to spread darkness throughout the land. The beauty of light is that even the smallest amount of light will banish the darkness.  As a parent this is a very important lesson if not the most important one. My children need to be the light because the world is full of darkness.

This world tries to suffocate us with its intoxicating materialism. It tries to drown us in the darkness of fear and depression. Being materialistic is not bad in and of itself, but it is important to remember the light. Materialism should be mixed with spiritualism. What better way to teach our children how to live than by mixing a holiday with both materialism and spiritualism.

The world is a dark place, but with even the smallest light we can banish the darkness and nothing lights up the world more than a child’s smile.

This year I will buy my children presents and I will light the candles with them. I will play with them on the floor and we will stand and dance to Maoz Tzur.  The world is a dark place, but with even the smallest light we can banish the darkness and nothing lights up the world more than a child’s smile.