Did you notice? I haven’t posted for a few weeks. Yes, I have been busy but I’m always busy and I’m enjoying writing this blog.
I just couldn’t bring myself to write anything.
Unfortunately, 2016 ended on a very sad note. The sister of one of our students, the father of one of our students and the mother of one of our students passed away within a few days of each other right at the end of the year. I attended one funeral and two shiva houses. As the grandfather told me at the funeral of his granddaughter: “This is not the way it is supposed to be.”
The end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 should have been a happy time. Chanukah this year came out right at the end of the year, a time of light in the darkness. I struggled to see the light.
Then a week after Chanukah, I went to the Agudath Israel Midwest Conference and heard Rabbi Uren Reich speak. Rabbi Reich shared an amazing insight into Chanukah I’d never heard before. He said (I’m paraphrasing): “Imagine how the kohanim (priests) must have felt after the miraculous victory over the Greeks, entering the Temple mount to find only one flask of pure olive oil to light the menorah. Imagine their disappointment at not finding eight, the number they needed until new oil could be produced. How much happier they would have been to find eight. Yet, if there had been eight, they would not have witnessed the miracle of Chanukah that we celebrate today and that Jews have celebrated for thousands of years, the miracle of one flask burning for eight days.
Sometimes the greatest miracles occur in times of despair. Sometimes the greatest achievements we can make are from places of darkness.
That should give us hope in difficult times.
It lifted my spirits and inspired me to share this message.
You can view another heroic and miraculous story of light shining from the darkness in video shown a week before Chanukah at the Dinner of Telshe (pronounced Telz) Yeshiva (where one of my sons is currently learning, one graduated from and one please G-d will be joining next year), titled “Rising from the Ashes.”
You can also see more about the Midewest Agudah Convention at https://www.agudahmidwestconvention.org/videos/ The theme of the convention was “Reaching Heights, Rising Higher.”
I’d like to dedicate this post in memory of Rivka bas Moshe Yisrael (Becca Mayer), Chanah bas Moshe (Anna Chevlin) and David ben Yosef (David Steiner). May their memories be for a blessing.
May light shine forth from the darkness of their loss. May their neshamas rise higher and higher.
And may we all be inspired to reach greater heights..