Chanukah, Then and Now

Categories: Jewish Moment

There is a well known question that’s asked about Chanukah. The Rabbis ask, “Why do we light the Menorah?” After all, the Macabbis did find one small jar of oil – then, it lasted for seven more days. Why shouldn’t we celebrate Chanukah for just seven days? There are numerous answers offered. Perhaps, the most famous is that there were two miracles. One of them, was the finding and lighting of the Menorah in the Bais Hamikdash. The other, was that the small Jewish army was able todefeat the mighty Greeks.

I would like to offer another answer and connect it to Lev Lalev. The miracle of Chanukah was that the Jews CARED to light the Menorah. After so many years under Greek rule, the Jews were devoted to lighting the Menorah. Acculturation, assimilation, and political weakness, didn’t effect the Jewish people. I suggest that this is the miracle of Chanukah.

Our girls at Lev Lalev come to us powerless and weak. They bring with them an aura of darkness. The miracle is that just like Chanukah, the girls spirits are raised. First, it is just a small flame. But, over the years it grows. The average girl spends seven or eight years with us. Each year she gets stronger. The light shines brighter. She reaches a higher level of confidence and self-esteem. The Lev Lalev girls branch out on their own. Some of our girls become dorm assistants after high school. Others, attend universities or programs of higher learning. It’s known that our girls are well trained and well adjusted.

The miracle is that they didn’t give up. The staff finds and provides them the spark, the small bottle of pure olive oil. From here, the girls grow and succeed. Israel charity makes the difference.