"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
– Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King
The Torah teaches that all that existed prior to creation was ‘darkness on the face of the waters.’ (Genesis 1:2) God then says, “let there be light” and there was light. In this moment, we learn that it is words that drive out darkness and bring light into the world.
The holiday of Hanukkah is all about transforming the darkness into light. We do this in several ways. First, we are commanded to light candles at the darkest time of the year. In addition, we increase the amount of light each night of the holiday. Finally, we light in the most public of places possible, at the time darkness sets in, so that everyone can witness the light in the dark. But these traditions are not the end goal; they are meant to spark a commitment within us to bring more light into existence.
These days, it can feel especially challenging to figure out how to make the world a brighter place. As we learn in the Torah, each one of us has the ability to create positive change just by the way we speak to and about each other.
The Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 33) offers us a parable: A rabbi prepared a meal for his students. He brought before them tongue that was tender and tongue that was tough. They began choosing the tender tongue and setting aside the tough. He said to them, “Take note of what you are doing, for just as you are choosing the tender and setting aside the tough, so should your own tongues be soft to one another.” We have a choice of how to use our words, and they can lift someone up or they bring someone down.
This holiday, let’s dedicate ourselves to choosing our words more carefully and acknowledging the power each one of us contains to add more light into the world. Happy Hanukkah.
Please join us for one, or all, of these opportunities to celebrate the holiday together at the J:
Candle Lightings in the Lobby
Join us for candle lighting in the lobby each week night of Hanukkah.
Main J Lobby | Mon-Thurs 5:00 PM
BAS Families ONLY | BAS Lobby | Mon-Thurs 5:00 PM
Main J Lobby | Friday | 4:30 PM
Preschool Play Day at the J
Sunday, Dec 2 | 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Get LIT AND FIT! 8 Days of Hanukkah and Fitness
West Houston Hanukkah Celebration
Tuesday, Dec 4 | 5:30 PM-7:00 PM | At the West Houston JCC
POSTPONED: Work it Out Wednesday with CW39
Wednesday, Dec 5 | 6:00 AM-9:00 AM
Adults 60 Plus Hanukkah Lunch
Wednesday, Dec 5 | 12:00 PM
Family Shabbat Happy Hour and Candle Lighting w/ PJ Library and Act Now Houston
Friday, Dec 7 | 4:30 PM
Mishpacha & Me and Mishpacha NEXT Shabbanukkah Dinner
Friday, Dec 7 | 5:15 PM-7:00 PM
Sunday, Dec 9 | 1:00 PM-6:00 PM