I would like to share a simple, yet powerful idea that I believe can serve as a kavvana and help direct our intention as we light the Menorah tonight and continue throughout the eight nights of Chanukah.
One of the central recurring themes of Chanukah is that of Mosif Veholech – adding and increasing as is stated in the Gemarah (Shabbat 21b):
‘‘Beit Hillel say: on the first day, he lights one (candle); and from here on, he increases as he goes along.’”
The idea of adding and increasing is expressed not just in the lighting of the Menorah but across almost every aspect of the Holiday.
Historically, Chanukah was instituted by the Rabbis in the Oral Torah, thus it is the holiday that was added after the Written Torah was given.
In terms of the calendar, Chanukah always occurs during the time of year when we read from the Torah portions discussing the life of Yosef Hatzadik. Yosef’s very name was given to him as an expression of his mother’s desire to increase and add:
‘She (Rachel) called his name Yosef, to say HaShem, add for me another son’. (Bereisheet 30:24)
Yosef Hatzadik is referred to as the ‘one who adds’. In his life, despite encountering great adversity, Yosef was able to overcome his challenges and prosper both physically and materially.
With this in mind, we can begin to imagine ourselves as a Menorah, a source of light capable of ‘adding’ and making a unique contribution to the world. While lighting the Menorah, we are asking Hashem to let us truly feel that our Menorah, our presence, our thoughts, and our dreams can share a light into the world. Not just any light, but a light that truly expresses this idea of ‘adding’. To do this, we need to understand that not only does each and every one of us have something unique to add to the world, but perhaps more importantly, we need to believe in our own light. It is the belief in our own light, that ultimately allows us to share our uniqueness, to reach this level of ‘adding’.
May this Chanukah bring about a discovery of all individual lights, and may we together illuminate the world.