Menorahs In Our Windows
There is a discussion occurring this year amongst many Jews of whether we participate in a very special mitzvah of Chanukah. It is taught that we are supposed to publicize the miracle of Chanukah by putting our menorahs in our windows. We are supposed to let the world know that we are celebrating our holiday and that we continue to be here as a people.
However, the Talmud teaches us that we do not do this in times of danger and that our safety is of the utmost importance. Many people question right now with the rise of anti-Semitism if we should make our Judaism so public.
This past week, I was at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial---a conference where five thousand Jews gather from all over the country for learning, growing and for spirituality. I had the opportunity to listen to Deborah Lipstadt again, an American Historian and Holocaust Professor at Emory University. Deborah has become one of the most well-known speakers in the country for her understanding of the anti-Semitism that is happening all over the US and around the world (by the way she is coming to both Broward and Palm Beach county)
She said at our conference last week:
Don’t be motivated by the oy…but motivated by the joy of Judaism. Base your Judaism on what Jews do…and not on what is done to Jews. We need to revel in our Jewish identity. Being a Jew is so much more then being a victim. Embrace Judaism…because it is ours.
On this Chanukah I hope that we can find, as Lipstadt stated, “the joy” of our beautiful tradition. I hope that we gather with friends and family and remind ourselves of how special it is to be Jewish.
May we all put our menorahs in the windows to tell the world we are still here. May our light shine bright in this troubled world and may others be uplifted by it. May we bravely shine so that others will see our light and shine with us.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Marci R. Bloch