Many of us have been taught that Hanukah is a simple children’s holiday, but this is not the case. Although the story of oil lasting for eight days is compelling, we find no historical basis for that event! So, what is the real miracle of Hanukah? The miracle of Hanukah is that we overcame the odds. We struggled for survival and won. Our conviction to maintain our Jewish identity and independence gave us the edge against a stronger and larger enemy.
We light our Hanukah menorahs in the windows of our homes in order to fulfill the commandment of Pirsumei Nisah (publicizing the miracle). By letting our neighbors and all outsiders see our flames burning brightly, we are sending a powerful message. We want them to know and be aware that we and Judaism have survived.
The Hanukah menorah is a symbol that inside of our homes we are celebrating and commemorating just one of many Jewish celebrations. Despite the odds and gloomy statistics, we are committed to our heritage and, because of that, Judaism has survived and will continue to flourish.
On this holiday of Hanukah, may we all feel secure about our religion and not be afraid to let others see. Let us take this opportunity to talk about Jewish survival and continuity. Let us reflect on the many miracles and blessings in our own lives. May our Hanukah menorahs be a symbol that Judaism is alive and well and that Judaism is here to stay!
Brian Glusman serves as rabbi and outreach coordinator at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.