Hanukkah is the least religious of Jewish holidays. Seriously.
But I find it among the most inspiring.
The story goes that King Antiochus gained control of Judea when his Syrian forces defeated King Ptolemy of Egypt over 2,200 years ago. At the time, the Syrians believed in the traditional Greek gods of Mt. Olympus.
Antiochus ordered his troops to destroy the Jews, which led to the Temple being destroyed. Several years later, a small revolt led by one family (known as the Maccabees, Hebrew for “Hammer”) successfully overthrew the invading monarchy and pushed them out of their land.
The Temple’s “eternal light” was supposed to burn all night, every night. But there was only enough of the special olive oil to last one night.
But, that little batch of oil that could, lasted EIGHT nights, until new oil could be made. Symbolically, this provided a major boost to the Jewish people and is why we celebrate eight nights of Hanukkah.
To me, the story is about dedication, hard work and faith. Even though my daughter is jut six months old, we had a long talk about this on the first night of Hanukkah last week. Well, I talked and she babbled. And I’m sure she thought she was talking and I was the one babbling. Such is life, right?
I explained to her that the sky is the limit on her dreams of she works hard, is dedicated to the cause and has a little faith.
This holiday, I told her, is NOT about presents, but about working towards a better future and spending quality time with your family.
The next morning, we took Hava’s first plane ride all the way to Texas to visit my wife’s family.
We spent the rest of the holiday putting my words to her in action, as we visited friends and family non-stop, bringing baby giggles with us everywhere we went.