Mintz: Light in the darkness
Our magnificent Colorado winter is here and with it comes the inspirational holiday season. Together with our loved ones, we come together to celebrate tradition and to infuse our homes with brightness. Yet, as we are enjoying our family time, life is still seemingly unstable and, may I say, chaotic.
Though a vaccine seems promising and may even be making its way to our citizens real soon, still, too many of our fellow citizens wake up daily with anxiety, fear, and an unhealthy dose of hopelessness. I have found an antidote to these negative feelings, and it can be experienced by gazing at the flames of the Chanukah Menorah candles.
When looking into the light, think of the Maccabees, who had every reason to give up. They were up against the formidable Syrian Greek army and its vicious King Antiochus IV. Their Holy Temple in Jerusalem was in ruins after having been desecrated by the invaders. So many of their fellow Jews had already been sacrificed on the altar of war, while hundreds of others were maimed in battle. Most importantly, most of the Jews were timid and willing to surrender to the Greeks for convenience; all felt hopeless.
Hopelessness is a silent killer, as it takes away our will, our oomph, to fight on, to see a brighter future and to do our best to inspire and be inspired.
There’s an old Chassidic proverb In Yiddish “Tracht Gut Vet Zain Gut,” which means “think good and it will be good.” The positive thinking isn’t just a comfort mechanism to get us through life’s hardships, but the optimism in itself changes the energetics and brings about an actual change from on High for the better.
Your belief doesn’t help you get through the challenge, it transforms the challenge into a visible blessing. The Maccabees, led by Judah, understood this spiritual phenomenon, which is why they never surrendered to despair. They didn’t join the chorus of “let’s give up,” instead, they fought, fought and fought more.
Take a moment during this holiday season to hope for the impossible. The the eight Chanukah candles prove that the hope brings about those much-needed miracles we each yearn for so desperately.
Happy Chanukah and don’t ever give up.
Rabbi Dovid Mintz directs Vail Chabad Jewish Center. He and his family live in Vail since 2006. He can be reached at info@JewishVail.com.
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