The Light of Gratitude
Gratitude is a conduit for light. Light in the Bible symbolizes life, joy, justice, and deliverance. (Aytz Hayim commentary, p.5). Today is the first day of Kislev, the month of light. In two weeks, Thanksgiving blessings of gratitude will hopefully rekindle our desire to care for the less fortunate. With each act of generosity, expressed, received and witnessed, all souls are illuminated by the glow of grace (chein), loving kindness (chesed) and compassion (rachamim). According to our sages, if we are to restore enlightened wholeness (shelimut) to a broken world, thanksgiving must become a daily practice which is continually renewed and refined.
The Light of Miracles
Miracles are the streaming of one person’s inner light into another. Seeing miracles takes practice. Miracles may easily go unnoticed if we linger in our own darkness. Opening ourselves even to the possibility of witnessing miracles invites a ray of that light to stream into us as well. Hannukah, which begins on Kislev 25, is our Festival of Lights. Each night, during the darkest time of the year, we add light upon light until the entire menorah is ablaze with miracles. These miracles shed light on our capacity to courageously fight for justice wherever injustice and intolerance are found. It is miraculous what a difference even one human being can have on another. Each of us has the potential within us to pursue peace, and miracles occur when we bring that potential to life.
The Light of Shabbat
With the setting of the sun comes the hope for PEACE – Shabbat. Kindling the Sabbath lights we invite PEACE into our home and our hearts. We ask the SOURCE OF ILLUMINATION to stream the blessing of Divine light into our children and grandchildren – that they may be made whole (shaleim) through PEACE (shalom). Blessing them, we pray they, and all of humanity, will become vessels for and igniters of peace.
The Flame of Peace
PEACE can always grow brighter. One PEACE-flame can add to PEACE by kindling an infinite number of other flames without being diminished. Kindling peace is also practice which guides us into each new week. It begins with restraining and containing darkness, to ensure that our actions come from the LIGHT. PEACE grows when we value each and every life, especially when darkness threatens to overwhelm the light of hope.
May our community, country and world soon see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words: “…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not take up sword against nation; they shall never again know war” (Isaiah 2:4).
Chodesh tov v’Shabbat Shalom.
Nina J. Mizrahi, Community Rabbi
Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5776/ 12 November 2015