Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins Dec. 7

Religious By Rabbi Mendel Weiss and Tzippy Weiss, Chabad of Northwest Dade, Miami Lakes and St. Thomas University Wednesday, November 29, 2023

     Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek Seleucid Empire and the subsequent rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. 

     The Chabad Lubavitch movement places significant emphasis on the holiday and its message, both historically and in a contemporary context.  The Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, highlighted the significance of Chanukah as a time for spreading light and spirituality in a world that can sometimes be filled with darkness.  He emphasized the importance of publicizing the miracle of Chanukah by lighting the menorah (a nine-branched candelabrum) in public places, such as town squares and city centers to share the message of Chanukah with as many people as possible. 

     This practice has become widespread in many communities around the world.

     Furthermore, the Rebbe taught that the story of Chanukah carries a broader, timeless message. He emphasized the importance of standing up for one’s religious beliefs, even in the face of adversity and assimilation. The struggle of the Maccabees against the Hellenistic influences of their time serves as a reminder to remain steadfast in one’s commitment to Jewish faith and practice, regardless of prevailing cultural or societal pressures.

     Chanukah serves as a reminder of the ongoing battle for religious freedom and Jewish identity. It encourages Jews to take pride in their heritage and actively engage with their communities to spread the values of Judaism and promote acts of kindness and goodness. 

     It’s important to note that in the times we are living today, we must all live and take to heart the Chanukah message, which is spreading light and destroying darkness, and that good will prevail always over evil. 

     Even though times may seem really dark and sometimes we may feel hopelessness, we must remember that the goodness will prevail.