Chanukah represents a daring innovation. It is not a holiday that is mentioned in the Torah or the Holy Scriptures, but it does hold great significance in the unfolding story of the Jewish people. For this reason, the sages in the Talmud (Shabbat 21a) instruct us observe this post-biblical festival with the lighting of candles over the course of eight consecutive nights. In doing so, we recognize the importance of the story of Chanukah and symbolically enhance our sense of wonder regarding miracles both past and present.
In addition to the miracle of the oil that lasted eight days, Chanukah commemorates the miraculous victory of the Maccabees, the rededication of the Temple, and the ongoing survival of our people against countless oppressors. In each instance, the miracles of our faith can be seen as a partnership between God and humanity.
As we light our candles tonight and mark the fourth night of Chanukah, the Chanukiah (Chanukah menorah) will shine bright, adding light to a darkened world. May these blazing candles serve to open our eyes to the miracles around us, open our hearts to a world in need of healing, and open our minds to seek partnerships between God and humanity.