Tonight, we will light a fourth candle on our Chanukah menorah as we celebrate our winter festival with family and friends. Historically, Chanukah commemorates the importance of the military victory of the Maccabees in 165 BCE. In remembering this aspect of our holiday, we consider the value in fighting for religious freedom in every age for all peoples.
Spiritually, our observance is a celebration of miracles. In lighting our festival lights and eating foods fried in oil, we recall the miraculous events that graced the Maccabees in their day with the hope that God will bless us with such miracles in our own day.
This year, in particular, as unrelenting violence rages in cities across the globe, the historical and spiritual messages of Chanukah can help us consider ways to bring light and miracles to a darkened world. As we light the candles for the remaining nights of this Festival of Lights may these redemptive themes bring us a sense of hope that all forces of darkness will be defeated and human freedoms will reign triumphant.