By Vicki Leopold
Seven decorated golf carts topped with menorahs, some twinkling with lights, lined up at Fresh Market about 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 25, ready to parade to the Peachtree City Center, where latkes, doughnuts, games, gifts and crafts awaited them at Chabad of Peachtree City’s third annual Chanukah lighting ceremony.
Fun commenced soon after the carts arrived. Children made candles, designed edible menorahs, received face-painted menorahs, spun dreidels, won prizes and watched jugglers.
About 120 people listened as Rabbi Yossi Lew explained why the shamash is above rather than alongside the other candles: When you light “someone else’s light, you get the top seat.”
Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch took time away from her family on Christmas to light the first candle.
A surprise guest, Israel Defense Forces soldier Ariel Gonen, stationed at Fort Benning during a six-month exchange with the U.S. military, lighted the second candle. Gonen had discovered the menorah lighting during an online search for anything Jewish outside Atlanta and made the trek from Columbus.
Rabbi Lew gave his Chanukah message in four parts:
- The miracle of the Maccabees is that a small clan was counted out but achieved a clear victory over the Syrians, a mighty empire. “Never say, ‘I can’t,’ ” the rabbi said, because if you want it and work for it, it can happen.
- What is “perfect” keeps evolving. On the first night of Chanukah, it is perfect to light one candle, but two are needed the second night to make it right, and so forth. As people, we grow and improve, day by day.
- “Everyone benefits from the warmth and light of the menorah — everyone. When in a dark room, instead of kvetching about the darkness, search for a candle to light.”
- “The Jewish people and the country of Israel have been dealt a severe blow by someone who claimed to be a friend,” the rabbi said, referring to the U.N. resolution two days earlier. Allowing countries that “represent lawlessness, human restriction and chaos to vote against Israel is totally unfair, one-sided and immoral” and represents a “stab in the back to a country that has done everything in its power to embrace peace.”
U.N. Resolution 2334 “has no meaning and will have no meaning. The Jewish candles of the menorah have been lit for 2,000 years, and the Jewish candles of the menorah will never be extinguished, and we will never stop lighting the candles that will bring warmth, blessing and light to the world. We will not worry about the darkness in the room, but we will light the candle in every dark place.”