As we lit the Chanukah candles last night, I was awed by the brilliant light.  The eight days of Chanukah…how magnificent that we are able to celebrate the holiday of our ancestors in the land of our ancestors-Israel.

Every parents’ Chanukah celebrations begin prior to the holiday…with kindergarten parties, dance recitals, school parties…and the ultimate doughnut tasting contests.

Our pre-Chanukah madness included all of this, and more. Our eldest daughter was sworn into the Israeli Defense Forces.  We trekked two hours to her base, where we ultimately were seated and awaited the ceremony to begin.

To see the beaming faces of young men and women alike was breathtaking.  They were so proud to be part of the pomp and circumstance.  Their weeks of preparation had lead to this ultimate moment.  The army blasted the patriotic music, and the soldiers received their Tanach (Bible and Prophets) in one hand, and their gun in the other. The parents and grandparents softly cried, as these brave soldiers beamed with pride as they swore to uphold the laws of the IDF and defend the State of Israel.

Seeing my daughter take her Tanach and her gun, and run eagerly to her place in her unit’s formation gave me an utmost sense of pride and joy. And, as I softly wiped my tears away, I realized that my daughter, and her entire Unit, are all committed to protecting the State of Israel. They continue to fight with the determination of the Hasmoneans in the ultimate battles of light versus evil.

There is no greater pride in realizing that our children will continue to shine, as they grow to protect this amazing nation.  May we continue to feel this light beyond the burning wicks of the Chanukah menorahs.  I know I will feel it every time I look into a soldiers smiling eyes, and beaming smile.  They are the light unto our nation.