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#1: A Candle of Hope

#1, one, uno, echad, harishon, un, first night, now
it all starts with one who hopes.

Welcome to the Rabbipaul’s 8 Blogs for 8 Nights of Chanukah, the first of eight awesome blogs to brighten your Chanukah celebration. [All the Chanukah celebration resources you want are here.]

Blog Tzedakah: Leave a comment (below) on this blog to shine the light. For every comment made today, I’ll make a tzedakah donation to help foster kids seeking a brighter future.

Tonight is dedicated to remembering what it is all about. Chanukah, I mean. Sure, you have the story here which you have to retell (Rule #1 of Chanukah: no storytelling, holiday observance not completed). But beyond the oil and Maccabees and the evil King Antiochus and the miracle, was an amazing sense of “yes we can”.

What was going through the mind of that unnamed young kohen (priest) when he realized he only had enough oil to last for one night? Did he think he should save it for a special occasion, perhaps the first Shabbat, hoarding it to celebrate that significant holy day?

No, thinking “yes we can,” he had faith and hope and poured that oil into the menorah, lighting it in the face of all claims it would burn out. Like Nachshon before him, the early Zionists after him, he sensed that im tirtzu ein zo aggadah – if you will it/hope it/if you work for it, then it is no dream.

What would our lives be like if we lived with that as a mantra? That we can move toward new realities even when others discourage us. Realists among us will scoff at the idea. And the flighty will dance about it. But the rest of us will need to work at it – holding onto hope in the face of darkness. We know, for example, that to turn our country’s economic situation around, we will all, at some point, need to believe in it again. Not perhaps at this very moment, but sometime, soon. We know with our children that we have to take educated risks, watching carefully, but allowing them to take risks, drive off with the car, stay out later, climb a bit higher. Even love is about calculated risk, opening your heart for another to love.

  • So if you are tired after a long day, light the candle.
  • If you are concerned about the future, light the candle.
  • If you are worried about your portfolio, light the candle.
  • If you can’t figure out what to do about your challenging children, light the light.
  • If you can’t decide what to do about your aging parents, light that light.
  • If your love has gone sour, shine that light of hope.
  • If you business is going south, shine a beacon of possibility.
  • If your love life is brightening your heart, light a light to shine for others.
  • If your social activism is changing the world for the better, shine that beacon into other’s darkness.
  • If you are lonely or alone, light that light into your darkness.
  • Remember, we are all lighting lights in these days ahead.

It only takes one candle to brighten the darkness. So start today.

This Chanukah, be that unnamed kohen/priest. Take a chance for a better future. Kindle a lamp to shine the way ahead. Be your own hero. Yes you can!

In case you forget how possible it is to really make the lights sing and dance for you, click here. Each Chanukah candle will sing to you its own tune. Click the shamash (central helper candle) and they sing forth together. (Seriously, try it… but then come back and leave a comment, so we can send more tzedakah to the foster kids. Or donate your own to our ACAC/Adopt a Child Abuse Caseworker program at www.orami.org/donate.

The lyrics to the song you will hear are about spiritual and physical victory over the darkness (in case you forgot):

Mi yimalel givurot Yisrael
Otan mi yimne
Hen b’khol dor yakum hagibor
Goel ha-am.

Shma! Ba-yamim ha’hem ba’zman ha’zeh.
Macabim moshia u’phodeh
U’vyameinu kol Am Yisrael
Yitakhed yakum lehigael.

Shma! Ba-yamim ha’hem ba’zman ha’zeh.
Macabim moshia u’phodeh
U’vyameinu kol Am Yisrael
Yitakhed yakum lehigael.

Who can retell the things that befell us?
Who can count them?
In every age, a hero or sage
Arose to our aid.

Hark! In days of yore in Israel’s ancient land
Brave Maccabeus led the faithful band
But now all Israel must as one arise
Redeem itself through deed and sacrifice.


  1. Marc Goldsmith says:

    Cue Music…
    You… light up my life…
    Sorry, I had to sing it, but you do. I love the fact that each night of Chanukah can have significance and importance and not just blend in!
    And we need more Chanukah songs. Some of the greatest Xmas songs were written by Jews, so let’s bring Irving Berlin back and have him do us a Chanukah ditty!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have really enjoyed the 8 Blogs for 8 Nights and congratulate the Rabbi for this enormous job.

    Unfortunately, I have not been able to figure out how to post the comment. If you are reading this comment, I was finally successful by the last blog.

    May the light shine on those who are challenged by this computer age.

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