Yuval David
Filmmaker, Director, Actor, News Commentator, Activist and Advocate

Yuval David’s Meaning of Hanukkah

Chanukah is one of my favorite festivals of the year.  Also called ’the Festival of Lights’, Chanukah is celebrated with the lighting of the Chanukiya, the symbolic Jewish candelabra.  The main candle, the Shamash (meaning ‘attendant’ or ‘helper’) is the first candle lit and is used to light the remaining candles.  On the first night, we light one candle, and on the second night we light two candles, and on each subsequent night, we light an extra candle, until the eighth night when all the candles are lit.

Chanukah is about light, warmth, unity, and sharing of those elements together, even amidst the darkness that may surround us.

I find the significance to be that each one of us is a candle, and we can use our own flame to light others, just as we use our own individual ‘light’ to illuminate others. While our own flame of life shines light around us, united we can create a greater light.

This festival commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Great Temple in Jerusalem, where Jews had revolted against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.  Chanukah, which means ‘dedication’ in Hebrew, is celebrated with the traditions that have lasted since 200 B.C.E., when the Jews fought back against their colonizers and oppressors and reclaimed Judea, also known as the Land of Israel.  In winning the battle, the Jews repaired and cleansed the religious Temple, rebuilt the altar, and lit its menorah – the gold candelabrum whose seven branches represented knowledge and creation, and were meant to be kept burning every night.

In honor of this, we light the Chanukiyah, our own home-version of the Menorah, and we have the extra eighth branch representing the continuation of our people and our purpose, and the role that extra light has in our present and future.

On this Chanukah, whether you transliterate the holiday name as Hanukah, Chanukah, Hannuka, or any other spelling, I hope each of you shines brightly, illuminating the world around you, and that you use your own burning flame to share light with others helping them be a light themselves. Each of us is a leader, a Shamash, and each of us is a candle amongst others, meant to shine together creating light and warmth.

Happy Channukah.

About the Author
Yuval David is an Emmy-Award winning actor, director, and filmmaker who has won over 100 international film festival awards, and has played roles in shows and productions with ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Hulu, FX, HBO, Comedy Central, Disney, and Sony, including “Feud,” “Madam Secretary,” “What Would You Do,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Michael J Fox Show,” “Days of Our Lives,” and many others. One of his newest shows will air on FX and Hulu at the end of this year. He appears on broadcast news programs in the US, Israel, and internationally as a news commentator and writes articles for international publications [including i24 News, Fox, NBC, CBS, Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Out Magazine, and many online news platforms]. He is an active leader in Israeli, American, and international Jewish communities, focusing on causes pertaining to Jewish, Zionist, LGBTQ, civil rights, and social justice. Yuval collaborates with national and global organizations as a speaker, advisor, workshop leader, and creates film and social media content with them. Yuval advises dozens of governmental and non-governmental organizations. Yuval meets with political leaders in the US, Israel, and internationally, advocating for Jewish and LGBTQ causes. He also works to represent and help rescue LGBTQ people out of dangerous and life threatening situations internationally, primarily from countries that follow sharia law. His goal to entertain, uplift, and inspire guides his creative work and his social and political activism, as he motivates people within the pursuit of greater representation, inclusion, acceptance, and celebration of self and community identity. Yuval is active across social media, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn. You can view more on Yuval and his work at these links below:
Related Topics
Related Posts