techerryhill @techerryhill www.templeemanuel.org Rabbi Harold S. Kushner taught me… From the Rabbi’s Study by Jerome P. David, D. D. December 2017/January 2018 Kislev/Tevet/Shevat 5778 Hanukkah is more than remembering an ancient victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greeks; it is the Jewish response to the darkness of winter. It is our way of expressing our profound belief that God will not permit utter darkness to prevail. Those of us who are parents or grandparents know that we can’t talk small children out of their fear of the dark. However, we can show them that just a little bit of light, as in a night light; can chase away a room full of darkness. This is what we do at the Hanukkah season. We light our candles and the room is illuminated. One little candle creates a feeling of safety, warmth and well-being. There is a message in this for all of us. When the darkness of life seems more than we can bear, we need to be reminded that our burdens are powerless to withstand the smallest bit of illumination and hope. A true story of a teen who is feeling depressed, rejected and friendless… He convinced himself that he was unloved and unlovable. He was overwhelmed by life and felt that there were few options available to him. At school, he was sure that the other students were talking about him and making fun of him. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore. He decided that at the end of classes that day, he would go home and take his life. He felt that he didn’t deserve to live. At lunch, in the school cafeteria a girl passed him a note written on a small slip of paper. “Hang in there, Dan (not his real name), we all know that you’re going through a tough time, and we’re rooting for you.” That note saved Dan’s life. It told him that someone thought he was worth caring about. As our world grows colder and darker during the winter months, we must do what Jews have been taught to do at this season. Light a candle in someone’s life and see how it makes the darkness less dark. A little bit of light is all that we need…but we need it so desperately.