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Chaim Y. Botwinick

The Lights of Hanukkah and the Spirit of Resilience and Achdut

Photo from Unsplahed

Since the horrific massacre of  October 7th, our brothers and sisters in Israel and and throughout diaspora Jewish  communities  have  experienced a level of  “achdut” (unity), positive will and resilience  unsurpassed in recent history.

As we wait anxiously to hear about the status of kidnapped hostages, our hearts are aching with unimaginable pain and anticipation. These feelings  and experiences are happening while war rages on between Israel and Hamas and as we are witnessing an unimaginable  explosion of antisemitism throughout the world.

Over the past several years, I have written many posts, blogs and articles on a variety of  topics relating to achdut. But, today is different; very different  Today we are experiencing  an existential battle between good and evil; between civility and barbarism  and between light and darkness. These realities have  not only galvanized our Jewish communities, but have catalyzed a level of  internal unity and communal shalom bayit  that has minimized any differences that may exist between members of our Jewish community

Throughout Jewish history, the Bnai Yisrael have fought many existential wars from our first battle with amelak  in the desert when sojourning as a nation to Eretz Yisrael; to the fierce 1948 War of  Independence ; from the Yom Kippur War to today’s war with Hamas – we stand ready and steadfast to achieve victory. We have not choice, we have no option.

The war now being fought in Gaza is a war of existential magnitude. It is a war for Israel’s future security, and a war against the very evil which civilisations  have battled against for centuries .

As we celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah, we are reminded of how HaShem showed us the miraculous miracle of what a small jug of oil can accomplished for generations to come. To be sure, the light that laminated our holy temple for eight days was a true sign that when we did battle to protect our people,  HaShem Imachem – GD watched over us.. Gd was with us.

This awesome relationship  to HaShem during times of trouble and danger has and always will remain deeply and profoundly embedded in our hearts and souls.

Today’ level of Achdut is not the result of our people’s frailty or fear, which so often happens throughout Jewish history, but rather the ability of the Bnai Yisrael  to come together for a common destiny.

It was heartwarming to witness the video tapes of our Chayalim lighting hanukkiyot on the first night of Hanukkah.

Hearing them recite the  brachot over the candles through load speakers and military communications transmissions , troop by troop, followed by the words Amen was truly a sound and sight that defines an Achdut like no other.

May HaShem bless our chayalim and chayalot so that the light generated from their brachot over the candles radiate throughout the world  future generations. May HaShem watch over the hostages and grant them  freedom  from their evil captures.

May we be blessed with continued bracha and Achdut Bnai Yisrael as we battle evil on this holiday of Hanukkah.

Chag Hanukkah Same’ach and B’sorot Tovot.

About the Author
Dr. Chaim Botwinick is a senior executive coach and an organizational consultant . He served as president and CEO of the central agency for Jewish education in Baltimore and in Miami; in addition to head of school and principal for several Jewish day schools and yeshivot. He has published and lectured extensively on topics relating to education, resource development, strategic planing and leadership development. Dr. Botwinick is Author of “Think Excellence: Harnessing Your Power to Succeed Beyond Greatness”, Brown Books, 2011
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