December 18 5781 Zot Hanukkah
Posted on December 18, 2020
The final day of Hanukkah is sometimes referred to as “Zot Hanukkah”, “This is Hanukkah”. When the full Torah reading for the last day of Hanukkah is read, the final section begins “zot hanukkat hamizbeah; that is probably the original of the phrase. But when we light all 8 flames on the final night, we think to ourselves, now, this is Hanukkah, zot Hanukkah.
And we think about what Hanukkah has been to us this year and what we bring with us the holiday ends:
- This year we joined together as a Temple community every evening to light Hanukkah candles, sing and tell stories. It felt very good.
- Many of us this year were able to connect with extended family across the miles and to light candles virtually with them, even as we were not able to do so in person. Sometimes we lit with relatives with whom we would not otherwise have celebrated Hanukkah. That too was good.
- Hanukkah teaches us to appreciate the miracles in our own lives — the miracles of technology; the miracles of a vaccine that is coming and even more doses than we thought (think oil that lasted); the miracle of love that we can give and give and the more we give the more we have.
- Hanukkah teaches us to seek opportunities to do mitzvot — what mitzvot can we add to our usual?
- Hanukkah teaches us about perseverance even when all seems dark.
Let us take all these experiences and lessons and bring the light with us into the rest of the winter.
Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer