The Jewish holiday of Chanukah begins on Wednesday, November 27, after dark — when the first candle of the menorah (candlabra) should be lit.
The word Chanukah has several different, yet related, sources.
It comes from kah, the Hebrew equivalent of 25 and chanu, meaning rest.
The word Chanukah is also connected with the words for dedication (chanukat) and for education (chinuch).
On the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, the Maccabees rested from their battle.
They marched victoriously into the holy temple in Jerusalem, ready to rededicate the holy service.
They would forever serve as role models — educators — to future generations.
What does a soul look like? Look at the flame on a candle. The flame is bright, jumping, never resting.
The soul’s natural design to jump up to G-d, to leave the physical.
It is the wick and candle that hold the flame down, forcing it to do its job, to give light and warmth.
The human body is likened to the Holy Temple. The Baal Shem Tov always advised against asceticism, fasts and hurting the body.
Better, he would say, to use it to do a deed of kindness instead.
Goodness is contagious. When our soul tells our body to do a kind deed, both are affected.
What’s more, other souls around us take note and tell their bodies to do the same.
Before long, we create an international epidemic of kindness, what the prophets alluded to throughout the bible.
Rabbi Mendel (Scotland’s only Scottish rabbi, outreach director of Lubavitch of Scotland, the world’s largest Jewish outreach organisation and minister of Shul in the Park)and Tzirl Jacobs and family wish you all a very happy, bright and joyous Chanukah 5774/2013.
For your free Chanukah menorah kit call 638 5613 or visit www.chanukah.net.
On behalf of everyone at The Extra, a very happy Chanukah to all.