During the eight days of Chanukkah we place our Chanukkiot ברשות הרבים – in public view – to fulfil the mtizvah of פרסום הנס (pirsum hanes) – making the miracle known.
On Wednesday, we held our annual Chanukkah Festival of the Arts. This event was our own פרסום הנס (pirsum hanes) – an opportunity for us to share with you the many miracles that happen at The Toronto Heschel School each and every day.
At Chanukkah we sing על הנסים – about the miracles; we declare נס גדול היה שם -“a great miracle happened there.” For the past weeks our students have been learning all aboutנסים – miracles. We have been learning that a נס is not a magic trick – God is not a magician who dazzles us with smoke and mirrors.
In fact, the word נס – which we translate as “miracle” actually means a “sign,” a “message”. נסים are messages that God creates in the world to make us think, ignite our imaginations, lead us to ask questions, spark our creativity, inspire us to do tikkun olam.
Enough oil for one night lasted for eight? A sign that a little can go a long way – a reminder to make holy use of our gifts and resources; a sign that a dedicated group of people – like the Macabbees, and like ourselves – can make a big difference in the world when we work together for a meaningful purpose; a sign that amazing transformations of energy – chemical to radiant – can take place, and that we too can transform our energy to create light in the world.
During Chanukkah we sing:
מי ימלל גבורות ישראל
who can recount the heroic deeds of our people?
כן בכל דור יקום הגיבור
in every generation leaders arise
ובימינו כל עם ישראל יתאחד יקום ויגאל
and our day, the whole of the people shall unite, and by so doing, be transformed.
This Shabbat, let us all consider how we can keep the spirit of Chanukkah alive, and unite as a community to bring more light into the world.