Coming Into the Light of Chanukah, by Ariella Bracha Waldinger





December, 2003, just five short months after making ALiyah to live in the Palace of The King, in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh, I was ON LOCATION to greet the holiday of Chanukah with the opening performance of this precious mitzvah. A lot can happen in five short months when one resides in the Holiest place in the world….Eretz HaKodesh where the air makes one wise. I had begun to develop a greater awareness of my connectivity to all aspects of life, both the mundane and the spiritual. I was becoming more sensitive to the great reality of G-d’s Divine Providence in His Divinely chosen Land and the awareness took my breath away. I became deeply aware of the eternal significance of my choosing to return home and claim my inherited birthright.  I fully intended to make my deeds precious in G-d’s eyes to the best of my ability and to embellish my mitzvot with my new soul adornments.

The Torah classes I had been privileged to attend upgraded my knowledge and understanding of Chanukah. My newfound inspiration held the promise of a deeper, more connective Chanukah lighting and it beckoned me to approach from this newborn, transformative perspective.

Placing the Chanukiah outside to publicize the miracle, in the dark but starry night, deeply rooted and newly grounded in the deeper connection, I felt like I was lighting my Chanukah Menorah for the first time in my life.  Tears welled up as I approached to light, feeling that my soul and I were in harmony, touching ancient past to present in carrying out this beloved mitzvah. And so, with eyes wide open, articulating powerful, heartfelt Brachot, which I willed to touch the heavens, I lit the Chanuka Menorah outside in the ancient Holy City of Jerusalem in the ancient Holy Land, Israel where the miracle of Chanukah occurred. I felt my whole being ignite when I ignited that flame. I was once again overcome with the awareness of where I was standing.  Like a shooting star flying through the sky, it hit me. I WAS HOME. My little light connected with the starlight and with all the other Chanukah lights both in the Old City and throughout the Holy Land.  Can you imagine my happiness? I felt like a child, giddy with joy after receiving a much longed for gift.  And I realized that was IT!  I (my soul,the real me) had longed for this deeper connection and now I was feeling it in a very deep way as if for the first time.

Light is consciousness and I was being reborn into a new and deeper awareness with that consciousness. My newborn soul, born on wings of all the Blessings inherent in living in the Holy Land was coming into its power and clarity. I was growing like a seed embedded in the soil and new growth was bursting forth….I WAS LIVING INSPIRED.

As I allowed the powerful emotions to subside, I permitted myself to just dwell in the stillness of the sacred space.  My mind was slowly drinking in the wonder and grandeur of my little but powerful light. I gazed at the holy light allowing it to draw me into its deeper meaning, reflecting the hidden light of holiness.  Here was my light, my oil and wick, beautifully glowing and it was so joyous.  I felt that my light, my own sweet light was dancing between heaven and earth, singing to my soul the music of the message and I heard it well.

“Be a fighter for HaShem, no matter how hard it gets and shine your light everyday in every way and trust in G-d and He will deliver you.”

Basking in its glow and its revealed message, I could finally depart its company.  I felt the nobility of my calling as a Jew empowered to do G-d’s bidding in the world He created.  I eagerly awaited the remainder of the days of Chanukah to adorn my mitzvah with my personal, renewed intentions and in so doing, intensify the light in HaShem’s world.  Yes, Chanukah publicizes the miracles G-d did for us in “those days” but also “in this time now” in this incredible time of the rebirth of our People in our Land…the Land G-d gave the Jewish people.

Happy Chanukah!



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