Hanukah: Overcoming Your Darkness

Did you know that Hanukah falls during the darkest time of the year? It is the week of the new moon closest to the winter solstice.

Why does Hanukah fall during the darkest week of the year?

Hanukah is about standing up when things are darkest and defeating your biggest challenge, the one that has been growing for a while and feels insurmountable.

What great obstacle is standing before you trying to convince you to give up and that you can’t win?

Back in the day, it was the Syrian Greeks, the biggest, baddest army in the world. They defamed the temple and were trying to wipe out the Jews. A ragtag group of Jews, led by the Maccabbees, not only defeated this powerful army (a miracle), but also retook the temple and cleaned it and rededicated it.

You too can defeat the big bad menace and rededicate yourself to your vision for the coming year. This is what Hanukah is here to tell us.

Maybe you have been falling down from moving forward in your plans. Maybe thing after thing after thing has come forward demanding your time and energy and money.

Along comes Hanukah to tell you not to let those things get you down, not to give up. It is now time to rededicate yourself to the cause and get back on track.

Go ahead. Take another stab at your goals and desires. This is the time for the miracle of success!

Part of rededicating the temple was lighting the holy menorah and shining a light into the darkness.

You can do this by getting back on track with going after your hopes and dreams. In doing so, you will generate a little hope, a little light – just like the menorah in the temple.

It might only look like a tiny light; you might feel like you barely have the energy to keep it lit, to keep yourself going for one day.

Let me tell you a secret.   At this time, a light that you think will last barely one day can last 8 days. After all, this is the second miracle of Hanukah: there was only enough pure oil to light the menorah for 1 day and it took 8 days to make new oil. Still, they believed and didn’t give up and lit the menorah… and the light lasted 8 days until new oil was ready to be added.

In Judaism, 8 represents eternity.

So, if you can just keep the light of hope and the energy and desire of getting back on track and going after your dreams for just one day, during Hanukah, it can stretch beyond your expectations and keep you going for 8 days (or until you have the energy to keep going)… and an eternity.

Yes, you can have this miracle.

In fact, you can have both miracles.

All you need to do is believe in yourself and what you want and that it is too important to let anything stop you.

Hanukah starts Sunday night, December 6 this year, at sunset.

Light a candle that night and meditate on the miracles. The Hanukah candles you can buy in stores are perfect for this as they last about 40 minutes.

Happy Hanukah.

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If you have and questions or comments, please leave them below. Thanks.


About the Author

Picture of Shmuel Shalom Cohen Shmuel Shalom Cohen spent 10 years studying Torah in Jerusalem. Six years ago, he started Conscious Torah to help Jews connect to their tradition in ways they didn’t think possible. Shmuel also started, and is the executive directory of Jewish Events Willamette-valley, a non-profit whose mission is to build Jewish community, pride, and learning. In his free time, Shmuel likes walks in nature, playing music, writing poetry, and time with good friends.


Hanukah: Overcoming Your Darkness — 5 Comments

  1. Thank you for this blog post. It is very hopeful, and encouraging for this time of year. My husband and I also enjoyed your free Solving the Jewish Sacred Texts introductory class. A really positive view into some of the really essential messages and values to tap into in life.

    • Thank you. I am glad both of you enjoyed the Introductary class on the Jewish Sacred Texts and that you received something useful from this post.

  2. Bochar Tov Shmuel,

    Nice “Drash” on Chanukah. More than ever, we need some positive light shed on our world. I hope you have an “Enlightened” Chanukah! I will be going to the Rabbi Ruhi installation ceremony on Sunday. We “Yehudim” will all light the 1st night candle there at the Shul together. I think Ruhi’s parents and friends are flying in for the event. Should be a Simchas zeit! Enjoy… Ron

  3. Thanks, Shmuel. I find your words comforting and uplifting. And, may I add, enLightening?! Just what I need at this confusing time of the year.

  4. Hello-

    I wanted to say that I really liked this Post-and could not make it to your meditation

    on Monday which sounded wonderful ( I had another committment).

    Anyway, I am a Buddhist spiritualist but wanted to say your Post was amazing and I wanted

    to let you know that.

    Bless you and thank-you,

    Barbara Orsi

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