The holiday of Chanukah is set to begin. The menorah lighting, parties, dreidel games and gelt-giving will once more be in full swing. And though last year we promised the world not to treat ourselves to too many latkes and jelly donuts, this time around, once again we will have to start some weight loss program to shed the extra pounds as soon as the holiday is over.
Community Chanukah Events
Family Menorah Workshop
Join us for a fun Chanukah experience at the Home Depot. Make your own menorah with tons of different materials. Make your own dreidel. Enjoy Chanukah treats and much more. Sunday, Dec. 2, 2:30-4 p.m., at the Home Depot, 1651 Reston Pkwy., Reston.
Outdoor Chanukah Festival
Witness the lighting of a giant ice menorah by a special guest. Enjoy live family entertainment, prize drawings, hot chocolate, Chanukah donuts, latkes, chocolate gelt and dreidels, Chanukah family film, and lots of holiday cheer for the whole family.
Chanukah Story Hour and Olive Press Workshop
Join us at Reston Regional Library for Chanukah story time. Have your kids spellbound as they make their own oil at our famous Olive Oil Workshop. All little artists can test their skills with a Chanukah craft. Enjoy Chanukah treats and much more, Thursday, Dec. 13 from 4:15-5:15 p.m., at the Reston Regional Library, 11925 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston.
All events are free. Reservations are available at www.chabadrh.org.
Although for many of us, that above would be an accurate portrayal of the standard time-tested celebration of Chanukah, Chabad mysticism teaches us that this year, as in every Chanukah holiday (and ever holiday for that matter) of every year, there is a new Chanukah light, a new never revealed before energy that permeates all of us, empowering us to reach yet loftier heights in the spirit of Chanukah, in the triumph of light over darkness.
Have you ever eaten a doughnut and wondered where the hole went? Ah yes, this riddle has plagued carb lovers for years. Yet the answer still evades us.
A similar question, though less popular, has been asked by great thinkers of the past: When one lights a candle in a dark room, where does the darkness go? The answer given is that darkness has no existence of its own. It is a non-entity. It is simply the absence of light. Once a candle is lit, the darkness disappears. It doesn’t go into the closet, or to the next room. It simply disappears.
On Chanukah we light candles. We start with one candle, enough for the initial expulsion of darkness. Each day we add a candle, going a step further in brightening our lives, until the light reaches its ultimate goal: to completely dispel the darkness.
Every year on Chanukah we celebrate the great triumph of the Macabees, led by the brave Judah the Macabee, over the mighty Greek army which had invaded the Holy Land of Israel, threatening to prevent the Jews from practicing their traditions.
After a courageous fight, the Macabeean army, small and weak as they were, prevailed with the help of G-d, over the enemy. The victory is a symbol of a small glimmer of light being triumphant over a great darkness—which at the time seemed to be in command. With the notion that darkness is but the lack of light, the victory was easily attainable.
In a world where G-dliness—and goodness for that matter is, say, not on the top of everyone’s prioritized agenda, one may feel at times that darkness is, in fact, prevailing. It may seem that the mundane is sometimes taking more precedence on our daily lives and directing our everyday activities. To combat the darkness, we must remember it is but an absence of light. We must light that small candle, bring that little bit of G-dliness, or goodness, back into our lives and the world around us.
Rabbi Leibel Fajnland is the director of Chabad of Reston-Herndon. He can be reached at Rabbi@chabadrh.org.
Once we begin with the tiny flame within us, the process of ridding the world of darkness will increase, until we will be able to bask in the ultimate light of goodness, decency and harmony.
It is my hope and prayer that all our combined efforts to publicize the message and inspiration of Chanukah—of light over might, decency and freedom over darkness and oppression, unites all people and brings us one step closer to an age where there is only peace and respect among of all of G-d’s children.