Vail Daily column: New and improved
It always makes me wonder, when I walk through the supermarket and find that the laundry detergent, shampoo, body soap, even paper towels, etc. that I have been using for years, are now “new and improved.”
If they were fine for the last four decades, then why do they need to be new and improved? And, even scarier, what was wrong with the products that I have been using in various stages of my life that I ought to now begin to worry over?!
And then, as if sent from God to help me with my paranoia, comes Hanukkah.
You see, one of the most unique aspects of the holiday and its observance is the manner in which we light the candles. The Talmud teaches us that by lighting one candle on the first night and adding progressively each night till the eighth, we are fulfilling the Mitzvah “Mahadrin Min Hamehadrin” in the most scrupulous and devoted way possible.
So, even though on Night 1, by lighting one candle, we have raised the roof on our Hanukkah observance, when it comes to Night 2, yesterday’s top of the line just won’t cut it. As good as last night was, tonight must be new and improved!
And as good as tonight might be, tomorrow must be even better.
This is a fascinating thought when taking stock of what we have accomplished and what still lies ahead. We often feel like we have “done enough.” We’re tired, and we are satisfied with our body of work. And in most cases, we are well within our rights to take pride in our achievements. Yet, the Hanukkah lights, like my favorite bar of soap, insist that yesterday’s peak must be today’s jumping-off point. And that nothing less than a constantly upward climb, where every moment brings quantum leap greater heights than the one preceding it, is considered living.
Let us all resolve to, like the menorah, always bring more and more light to the world around us. May it be a time that we see ever increasing light of goodness, kindness, prosperity and peace for the entire world.
Rabbi Dovid Mintz is the director of Chabad Jewish Center of Vail. He can be reached at info@JewishVail.com