As the sun set last night and the stars were appearing in the clear moonlight sky Olim across the Land of our Forefathers and Foremothers were experiencing and engaging in a new Chanukah, in a new re-dedication to their Zionist and Jewish Dream.
Of all the Jewish holidays that unite the Jewish Family Chanukah is unique because it reveals not the physical need for the survival of the Jewish individual, but rather the spiritual need for the survival of the Jewish individual.
Chanukah is a profound holiday and statement of Jewish honor, identity, pride, and dedication to our cultural beliefs and ways. With Chanukah the Jewish Nation over 2,184 years ago came face to face with both the enemy without – the Syrian Greeks – and the enemies within – the Jewish Hellenists – that valued the Greek culture over the Jewish culture.
This internal confrontation forever ingrained within our Nation the everlasting power to place Jewish Identity, Pride, Honor, and Values ahead of material gain and assimilation. But even more than these wonderful virtues the victory over internal weakness and lack of commitment to our culture solidified a sense of brotherhood, sisterhood and “Offspringhood”. By “Offspringhood” I mean the bond between Our Heavenly Father and ourselves.
At Chanukah Time, WE, the Jewish People, truly become a Nation of brothers and sisters dedicated to our Heavenly Father. This dedication has guided us through these 1,948 years of exile.
It was this utter dedication and sense fo family that inspired our recent Forefathers and Foremothers to return to our Homeland and reclaim through blood, sweat, and tears the swamps and desert land and transfer them into a paradise.
It was the spirit of the Olim – the returnees – that broke all barriers of physical reality to create a HOME AGAIN.
This sense of brotherhood and sisterhood of a country of Olim for Olim about Olim has waxed and waned over the years.
There were years when the spirit was great and other years when individual olim were left to fend for themselves. But last night a new sense of unity began to emerge. It emerged in the lighting of the Chanukah candles as Olim began to feel a sense of family.
This sense of family is a new family – a family not only of the American Jew, or the Iraqi Jew, or the Bene Menashe Jew, or even of the Israeli Jew. It is the Family of the Oleh Jew. That Jew that must and needs to connect to the Jewish Homeland and Family.
It is this sense of Rededication that has made US – Jews from around the world – dedicate our very lives, hopes, dreams, wants, and needs to create our HOME called ISRAEL!
And so, we must forge ahead with great commitment, energy, good cheer, grace, and loving kindness to claim our Generation, our Portion in the Story of ISRAEL – a story OF OLIM BY OLIM ABOUT OLIM.
SHABBAT CHANUKAH SAMEACH SHALOM