By Rabbi Michael Bernstein
Light is a powerful symbol that we find not only once a year on Chanukah, but each day in the words of the morning prayers. Right before saying the “Shema,” we recognize G*d as the Creator of Light and ask G*d to shine a new light upon us. Like G*d, light is always around us, but cannot be seen directly. Only reflecting off of others can light, and G*d be recognized. The new light we ask for is a way of seeing the light that’s there in a new way, recognizing how it not only illuminates the world as it is, but points to a world that can be.
The candles lit on Chanukah also burn with this new light. They are reminders of miraculous flames that refused to go out. A light that does not merely illuminate but inspires us, too, to refuse to give up seeing endless possibilities. Not to clear away darkness, but allow us to see the world in a new light.
Michael Bernstein is the spiritual leader of Congregation Gesher L’ Torah in Alpharetta.