The holiday is over, but the meaning of Hanukkah can still be celebrated

Posted at 3:07 PM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 17:07:56-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — It's the perfect story rooted in hope and perseverance, two things we all could use as we continue to rebound from the pandemic.

Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, is celebrated for eight days and eight nights. This year, the holiday fell on Dec. 10th, lasting until Dec. 18th. Even though the holiday is over, one local Rabbi says the miracle behind the holiday should still be celebrated.

"Each of us has the ability to shine more light into the world," said Rabbi Jay Sherwood, of Temple Shalom, in Colorado Springs. "The miracle of Hanukkah is about bringing darkness into the light."

Rabbi Sherwood says the story of Hanukkah is also about hope and history. The Jews reclaimed their temple from the Greek empire, found a small cruse of oil and used it to light a menorah. There wasn't much oil inside it, yet the light miraculously lasted for eight days.

"It was a small Jewish army called the Maccabees. They fought a battle to take the territory back and take the temple back to make it the holy place for Jews that it was in ancient times."

A small group, overcoming against all odds; A story seemingly repeating itself in 2020.

Since the start of the pandemic, Rabbi Sherwood says all of his synagogue's services have been held online.

"Our Friday night and Saturday morning Shabbat services are virtual," he said. "We even have online life cycle events, from baby namings to funerals."

Hanukkah celebrations are no exception.

"This year we had something called eight crazy nights with Rabbi Jay. It was a virtual service, a half hour program in the form of a talk show. We light the candles together, I sing a Hanukkah song, and we did a different theme every night."

Rabbi Jay says the message behind the miracle of Hanukkah hasn't changed, even though we are in the midst of a pandemic. Whether you are Jewish or not, all it takes is a spark.

"It's as easy as lighting a candle that's the physical act that we do, but if we kindle that light that's within ourselves we can banish the darkness and bring forth the light."

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