By Sara Sideman, JCC Camps at Medford Associate Director
“A mitzvah is compared to a candle, and the Torah is light.” During the Chanukah season, we both literally and figuratively are looking for ways to increase the light.
One of my favorite moments of Chanukah each year is watching the eight candles and the shamash burn down on the 8th night of Chanukah. The sight of the flickering flames and the warmth of the fire feels like home. Each night of Chanukah, we physically add an another candle to the menorah, slowly increasing the light each night of the holiday. With each night, the menorah burns more brightly and becomes more beautiful. There is a physical increase of light, but there is also a spiritual one, helping the home shine brighter and warmer.
There is a very interesting argument in the Talmud about whether or not using one candle of the menorah to light another is, in fact, diminishing the light of the first candle. A beautiful response follows. When one person uses the flame of their faith, or mitzvot, or goodness, to light that of another person, their own goodness does not diminish. It actually increases exponentially, because there is now more goodness in the world. When it comes to spiritual versus material of physical goods, the more we share, the more we have. The more we give of ourselves this Chanukah season, the more we have, as well. The more light we create for others, the brighter all of our lights will shine.
Interested in ways to metaphorically increase the light this Chanukah season, through mitzvot and giving? We have two great events coming up for you!
On Thursday, December 6, we will be raising funds for programming supporting children and adults with special needs, the frail elderly, and financial assistance at Designer Bag Bingo! This event is always a ton of fun, and it is a fantastic way to support vital programs at the Katz JCC while having a great evening out. Even more special, this year’s event takes place on the Fifth Night of Chanukah. Fifth Night is a national campaign to make the fifth night of Chanukah one about giving instead of receiving, and a great to teach your children about giving, as well.
We look forward to increasing the light of Chanukah with you this season!