A Great Miracle Happened There

Tuesday evening a goodly number of Congregation Beth Shalom members braved the wind and the cold as we joined with the staff of Federation to light the Community Menorah at the BJE. We were lighting the Menorah for the first night of Hanukkah.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who came out to celebrate with us, and especially Juliette Nehring, who proved once again that it is possible to play guitar even with frozen fingers, and to all who proved that it is possible to sing, even when our lungs begin to freeze up.

Also, it was a time to remember that as important as lighting the lights are, as beautiful as the lights are, they are not the most important part of the holiday. As Halpern’s Rule #5 reminds us, it is all in the words, and the key word here is Hanukkah itself. Hanukkah means “rededication”, and the name of the celebration reminds us that the most important part of the Maccabean victory was the rededication of the Temple.  Just as our ancestors rededicated the Temple, it is a time for us to rededicate ourselves to be the Divine Light – a Light to the Nations.

And yes, a great miracle DID happen on Tuesday. In the midst of the cold, I, the Rabbi who almost never wears a coat, was offered a hat to wear, and I ACCEPTED. A great miracle, indeed.

Have a joyous holiday.

B’Shalom
Rabbi Stanley Halpern

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BY POPULAR DEMAND COURTESY THE NEW YORKER

THE LAST MACCABEE

“Hear me, O God!!!” he shouted as he raised his broad bronze sword above his head. “Though You may test me with this faithless destruction, my sorrow shall be my grindstone! My suffering shall be a crucible! And I will not rest until this sanctified land is delivered into the hands of the righteous!”

He beat his chest and let out a piercing war cry that struck fear into the hearts of his enemies.

Five minutes later, he was escorted from the building by Security.

And although no one pressed charges, Kyle Maccabee never worked for Nixon Peabody again.

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