Sunday night was the eighth night of Chanukah, and as we gazed upon the blazing candles in all their glory, we were invited to embrace the idea that with faith and fortitude we can bring light into a darkened world. Each year, these candles open our eyes to the miracles that surround us every day, and they challenge us to emulate the courage of Judah Maccabee and the importance of standing up for justice and freedom in the world.
In our Torah portion this week, we read about another Judah, whose courage in the court of Pharaoh is often understood as a plea for justice in his time. As Judah and his brothers stand at the mercy of one of Pharaoh’s courtiers (who happens to be Joseph), Judah calls for justice in the midst of crisis.
From Judah to Judah and generation to generation, our faith has recognized the paramount value of defending justice and mercy in the world. As the final weeks of 2021 draw to an end, let us all find ways to look back on an exceedingly difficult year and begin to imagine a 2022 that is filled with the light of Chanukah and the pursuit of justice modeled on countless generations of Judah.