Chanukah 2018: Candles & Souls (Speech)
On the first night of Chanukah, how many candles do we light?
Just one small flame.
A flame so small, you can barely notice it in the room.
Just one small, steady, little flame.
On the second night of Chanukah, how many candles do we light?
Just one more than the night before.
Again, hardly noticeable in the room,
but there nonetheless.
The Yid (Jewish person) has inside him or herself what's called a neshamah, or a soul. This is a spiritual, inner presence of pure divine origin that gets nurtured when we pray to G-d and learn and observe His Torah and mitzvos.
Let’s face it. We are busy people.
We have a lot going on in our day to day routines.
And living in the 21st century of technology and fast pace doesn't help much.
In the average day we can all too easily be overwhelmed with
davening, work, clients, employees, family obligations, friends, commitments, children, finding time to study, paying bills, returning library books, going to the gym, keeping up to date on our favorite sports teams, national politics, global political and maintaining our health and hygiene as well as getting the right amount of sleep at night.
With everything that consumes our days, with all the noise and chaos....
who has the time to remember they have a neshama; a soul given to us by G-d Himself that itself requires maintenance?!
The holiday of Chanukah is here to shed some light (literally) on this very real dilemma.
Until now, the last holiday we had was Sukkos way back in September and we won't have another holiday for the whole winter until Purim and then Pesach (Passover) in the spring.
Chanukah is here as a little burst of inspiration.
Each night we light just one more candle.
A small, simple candle.
In our lives, Hashem doesn't want us to stop, drop, and roll away from all of our daily grind to go and completely focus on religion. While that would be GREAT, for many its highly unreasonable.
What Hashem wants is for us to remember we have a neshama and each day or each week to just focus on our yiddishkeit. Daven, spend some time learning the Torah each day, make a phone call to a parent or spouse just to let them know you're thinking about them.
Hashem gave us these “little somethings” that are not only good for us and the rest of the world, but they light up the world each day.
These too are little flames we light ….that over time set or Neshamas on fire
(in the good way)!
Take little steps towards growing.
These steps are often so small they are hardly noticed, even by us.
But they need to be made.
Just like we light only one additional candle each night that’s barely noticeable in the room amidst our “chaotic lives” it's there, burning ever so bright.
And by the end of Chanukah we have a full fledged menorah with all eight candles shining together to light up or homes.
This is how we will be. With little step of growth, we add another candle to the menorah of our soul and slowly but surely, just like our beautiful menorahs - we ourselves, will light up the room!
Have a wonderful rest of Shabbos and Chanukah!
Maverick V. Peters