Lessons from Chanukah

One lesson we can learn from the Chanukah lights is the following:

Many Jews are afraid that if they do not observe all the mitzvoth they are not worth much and they are afraid to learn more, afraid that they will be obligated immediately to jump into doing everything.

But from Chanukah we learn to start with one light, and then you add more.

Every Jew has to know that even one mitzvah has value. Even one tradition has value. Doing one mitzvah attaches you to G-d and is on its own of great value in G-d’s eyes and for the person’s neshomah (soul).

And as you learn more and experience more in Judaism you add more mitzvahs.

So we start with one candle and each night we add an additional one.

Until eventually we light up our souls completely.

And this is the approach of Chabad: to do even one mitzvah because that in itself is valuable and to add more as one learns and grows.

We never should judge another person negatively if they are not fulfilling all mitzvahs yet.  As the Rebbe said many times: there is no such thing as reform, conservative or orthodox Jews or Judaism. There is one Torah and one G-d. There are Jews who are more observance, and jews who are less observant. But we all have one Torah. And we all have value even if we are not yet fully observant. Whatever mitzvah one does gives G-d tremendous pleasure and nachas.

We also have to know that we have an obligation to light up others: that is why the Shamash is taller than the other candles. At first the shamash seems unimportant…but with the shamash all the other lights of the menorah are lit. We each need to be a shamash: to light up others with humility and with joy.

Galus is compared to a dream and in a dream we see things that make no sense. In galus also many things make no sense  but we need to open our eyes and see the truth and spread the light throughout the world as a preparation for the geulah, the final redemption.

Now we are experiencing in society a similar situation to when the Jews were under Greek rule. The society now tries to oppose anything holy, pure, G-dly. The liberal mind set wants to destroy any values of society, family, truth. The liberal mentality wants to pull people away from G-d, from religion and from right and wrong. It tries to blur and confuse what is clearly G-ds will and creation. We need to stand up to this because now we are fighting a war against G-d, a war against Torah. As Jews we need to stand up for what is right and holy and good and to destroy what is untrue and false in the world. This is our modern day battle against the Greek ideology. We must not allow the foreign ideas of the world to affect our observance of Torah and mitzvahs or our understanding of right and wrong. May we be victorious today just as the Jews were back in ancient times. And may we merit miracles today like back then.

Chanukah sameach! May the addition of light on Chanukah truly light up the darkness of the world and bring the great light of Moshiach.