Our team at Between the Lines wishes our readers a sweet and happy Hanukkah!
We’ve made it to the month of miracles! While the world waits for 2020 to end, Hanukkah kicks off as the beloved festival of lights. The holiday shares the story of the Maccabees, a small group of faithful fighters, who stood up to the Greek army to save the Jewish temple. When the Maccabees returned to the temple, they found most of it destroyed, yet uncovered enough oil to light up at least one night. The miracle is that it lasted for eight. Every year, Jews across the world light menorahs, eat oily, fried foods, and spin dreidels to commemorate the miracle of light brought amidst a time of darkness.
Like many stories from the past, the Hanukkah tale runs parallel to today. Instead of the Greek army, we are in a war against coronavirus. If we channel the Maccabee energy, we can win it with faith, determination, and willingness. The question remains. Will there be a miracle to help us shine a collective light after one of our darkest years yet?
What’s a miracle anyway? We’ve all experienced one. It can be a millisecond’s difference from a speeding car. It’s a glance up to spot the perfect double rainbow. It’s a new baby born, or a life saved. It’s clean drinking water or a helping hand. By definition, a miracle is an act of wonder, unexpected and often thought of as divine providence, or coming from above.
In Hebrew, the word for miracle is “nes,” which in a biblical sense, is translated as a sign. The word in Hebrew is spelled with two letters, nun and samech, which sit consecutively within the alphabet. Nun is said to represent suffering and deceit. Its shape is said to resemble a bent and humbled man. In contrast, samech is said to represent support, upholding, or uplifting. Its shape is meant to represent an infinite spiral or a shield of protection. Is this the sign, or miracle, we’ve been looking for all along? The word itself is built from both darkness and light, suffering and support.
It’s no coincidence that we celebrate the festival of lights in the darkest month. Humanity has been consistently met with the polarities of life. This time of the calendar marks the end of a year, and a new beginning. As time goes on, we may feel further away from these stories, but the truth rests closer than ever if we are willing to pay attention. Sometimes it takes being forced into darkness to be forced to see the light. How much longer will it take us to learn the lesson?
If we choose to move forward with faith, determination, and willingness, there is no battle we cannot win. As for the miracle we might be waiting for, perhaps we’ve been focusing on the wrong miracle all along. If the few Maccabees had not chosen to fight for a greater cause, to save their people, and to dive into the darkness of the unknown with full faith, would we be where we are today?
The year 2020 has been a dark time for many, yet perhaps it’s our greatest sign. We need not wait for divine providence; we need only to claim our personal power. For those who are suffering, may we find ways to support. For those who are falling down, may we make every effort to uplift. For those fighting the darkness, may we show up and be the light.