Do you love winter? (I am sorry but I don’t)

To all of the winter-lovers out there: I apologize in advance for the following post.

Yes, you have some good reasons to like the winter. Snow is beautiful, you say. It’s so nice to cozy up with a warm blanket and a cup of hot cocoa in front of the fireplace.

You know what? I prefer an ice-cold cup of orange juice and a nice blasting A/C.

Sorry, but I really dislike winter.

I think one of the parts I dislike the most is the darkness.

It simply gets too dark, too early.

And then driving at night is no fun. Especially if you add rain, those new LED lights, and some inconsiderate drivers who leave their headlights on high beam even when they’re behind you.

Darkness makes you feel small. It causes you to retreat, to prefer staying indoors and not venturing outside.

Come to think of it, it’s not only darkness. Our surroundings really have an impact on our lives.

When it’s rainy outside, we also feel gloomy on the inside.

When it’s sunny and beautiful, we feel happier.

And with that in mind, please allow me to introduce you to a special Jewish holiday. It’s called the “when-everything-goes-dark-you-go-light” holiday, AKA Chanukah.

Because what is Chanukah?

Chanukah is  . . .

To wait until it gets dark outside, and then to light the candles.

To stay positive even when those around you are negative.

To keep to your values even if you’re with others who have no values.

To do mitzvahs even when others seem not to appreciate it.

To smile even if you’re the only one in the room smiling.

To be proud of your Jewish identity even when others are mocking it.

And if someone asks you, Where do you get your courage to be different? How can you keep on being light even when it’s dark outside?, just point to the menorah, the beautiful, flickering lights that keep on burning for so many generations.

And you know what?

Light, positivity, G-dliness—they are all contagious. Slowly but surely, the darkness makes way for light. The light spreads and impacts others as well.

Wishing you all a very happy Chanukah!

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of