surviving? time to revive...

Thursday, 2 December, 2021 - 9:21 pm

On Chanukah we celebrate the survival of the Jewish people when the Sadducees (Syrian Greeks) tried to destroy their soul. They outlawed many mitzvot that seemed to not make any sense; mitzvot like shabbat and bris milah (circumcision).

The word survive comes from sur – additional and - vive - living. On Chanukah, despite the challenges the Jewish people faced, we survived and continue to live. On Chanukah, the temple was rededicated and thank G-d, Judaism has an extra life.

There is another word that is similar, revive. re- back and vive – living; alive again.

This Chanukah, I prefer to focus on the revival of Judaism, not just the survival. On Chanukah, we celebrate not additional life, but going back to the life we once lived. The life that is soul focused. The life that mitzvot aren't done (only) because they make sense, but because they are the expression of who we are.

Yes, we need to survive. However, we also need to revive and refresh our souls. We need to focus on going back to our core.

According to certain kabbalistic sources, Chanukah is the very end of the High Holiday season. On Chanukah we go back to our core identity, not through fasting but as a result of reviving the soul that may have been dormant. On Chanukah we do teshuva (return to our core process) in a very joyous and light filled way that doesn't only affect us but also shines and puts a glow on the people around us.

So, revive yourself and shine!

Happy Chanukah

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 


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