The hidden light


Light is sown for the righteous, and radiance for the upright. (Psalm 97:11)
The ancient rabbis teach that in the beginning, light filled the universe, shining from one end of it to the other, as it is written, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).  But when the sun and moon came into being, that original light was hidden away, “sown” in creation, waiting for human beings to act righteously.  Whenever we do, a little of that hidden light shines into the world, making it radiant with the divine presence.  On Hanukah, we have the opportunity to bring both physical and spiritual light into the world, by lighting the hanukiah and re-telling the Hanukah story.  The story of Hanukah is about resisting the tyranny of sameness, about asserting and defending the sacredness of difference, the wonderful rainbow of diversity that is God’s plan for the world.  At a time in which hatred and division seem to be ascendant, it is even more important for us to spread this lesson of Hanukah and to stand up for the right of the Jewish people and all people to live in dignity with our differences.  May we bring both the light we can see and the light of that divine perspective on the universe into our world more fully as we celebrate Hanukah this year.