Hanukkah, the eight-day festival of lights, begins Thursday at sunset, and as we all know, 2020 has been a rough year. One Southwest Florida rabbi is hoping to inspire others that a better year is on the way.
As the sun goes down Thursday evening, homes of Jewish people will light up in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah.
“When you look at those Hanukkah lights and see them getting bigger, more light every single night, then it gives us reason to be hopeful, tomorrow will be better and we can help make that better just as we like the candles, we can build hope for the future,” said Rabbi Marc Sack with Temple Judea in Fort Myers.
Hanukkah is typically celebrated at home, so the COVID-19 crisis won’t darken the festival of lights.
“We have a son in Tampa and another son and his family in Houston, so we’re all going to Skype candle lighting together,” said Lynn Talone, a member of Temple Judea.
“So the silver lining for us is that we’re going to go through Facebook video call with two of our children who live outside the area,” said JoAnn Lewin.
And maybe that Hanukkah light will shine bright in the new year to come.
“It‘s really important for us to maintain our hope, to maintain our vision of the future, and to know that together we can make our world better and we can all create more light,” Sack said.
What is Hanukkah?
Celebrated by millions of Jews worldwide, Hanukkah starts on the first evening when a single candle is lit on a special candelabra called the menorah. Another candle is lit each night thereafter, with all eight candles burning on the last night, which this year is Dec. 18.
The holiday commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrians and the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
When the Maccabees rededicated the Temple, they found that they only had enough oil to last one night. The miracle of Hanukkah is that the oil lasted for eight days.