Chanukah is a wondrous holiday in its simplicity. We light candles and gaze upon the light. We add one more candle each day, increasing the light, the beauty, and the joy. While those candles are burning low we need to pause for a moment to remember why it is we light those candles. Some 2,000 years ago a King reigned in Syria who took control of the land of Israel. He insisted that the Jewish people observe the Greco-Syrian customs of the day. He denied us the right to practice our own religion. He went even further and made sure that our holiest space in the world would be desecrated. Pigs were sacrificed on the altar in an effort to destroy not only the Temple, but the spirit of the Jews.
Instead, it did just the opposite. It enflamed the Jews. It returned us to our core. The Maccabean
rebellion went on for three years, after which time they returned to the Temple, cleaned and refurbished it, and rededicated it to Jewish life.
It is for this act of rededication that the holiday of Chanukah was named. "Chanukah" means "to dedicate."
Rededicating Jewish holy space is what we will be focusing on this year at TBT. We hope to have our own "Springtime Chanukah" when we rededicate our own Temple on our 40th Anniversary in May.
Looking forward to celebrating Chanukah with you and reflecting on the dedication of the Jewish people and the rededication of TBT.
Rabbi Stacy K. Offner