This week – Miketz, Hannukah and a Simcha Bat – we are so blessed with joy this week.
As we light our candles this week I want to honour R. Lawrence Hoffman with a nod to an article I read last week. He wrote about the holiness of lighting Hannukah candles. I wanted to title this piece “the Uselessness of Holiness”, which of course could most readily be misinterpreted.
R. Hoffman’s point was that by Jewish law we are not able to have benefit from the light of these candles. We are not to read by their light, nor use their light to guide us upstairs in the event of a power failure – nothing. He points out that the sole purpose of the light of these candles is their holiness. That holiness reminds us of a rekindling of light millennia ago, and also reminds us that there are times where even as we are usually called into action as Jews, there are times we need to just be, to just be with the light, and with the freedom these tiny lights symbolize.
We each can be a tiny candle of light, a pintele yid, and bring our light into the world through our actions, through our mitzvot. And we do. And yet, we also need to just sit quietly, in moments of holiness. Holding a hand of a beloved one as she slips from this realm, soothing a once cranky child, rocking them to sleep, sitting in quiet prayer. Lighting our Hannukiot.
So this Hannukah I wish each of you the “uselessness of holiness”. May you each find a moment of sacred quiet, and a blessing of peace.