Rabbi David Wilfond’s Message – Friday, December 9, 2022December 8, 2022
Rabbi David Wilfond’s Message – Friday, December 22, 2022December 22, 2022
It’s time to take your Hanukkah menorah off the shelf and find a box of candles. Hanukkah starts Sunday, December 18th. Please come join me at the Temple at 4:30pm to light the first candle and celebrate our Night of Light with our congregation. Next Sunday, December 25th is the night to light the last candle of Hanukah. If it’s too hard to light candles every night for eight nights, might I ask you to focus especially on the first and last nights. Spiritually it is very powerful to see the full menorah on the last night. Rabbi Hillel taught “We ascend in holiness” each time we add another candle to the growing light. Once the Menorah is full you will notice the world too begins to brighten. The moon of Tevet begins to grow in light, and we have also just passed through the shortest day of the winter solstice. When Hanukkah ends the sunlight of day begins to grow. Light returns and with it hope.
In 1992 Rabbi Hugo Gryn met with my Rabbinical School class in Jerusalem. I will never forget the story he told us about being with his father in Auschwitz in the darkest days. One day he saw his father take a potato, his meager rations, and put it into his pocket. Later he saw his father begin to carve the potato into a mini Hanukkah menorah. Hugo asked his father why he was doing this instead of eating the potato. His father replied “Hugo, we have seen people live without water for three days. We have seen people live without food for three weeks. But we can’t live one minute without hope.” With this hope in their hearts they both survived Auschwitz. Tragically Hugo’s father died a few months later at Mauthausen in May 1945, days before the war ended. After the war, Hugo went to study to be a Rabbi at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where I too studied. Rabbi Hugo Gryn devoted his life to fighting the darkness of hate and ignorance.
At this time of Hanukkah we should ask ourselves “How can I, through my actions, spread light in the world?”
I look forward to being with you on Sunday, December 18th at 4:30pm as we spread the light of hope.
Chag Hanukkah Sameach, Happy Hanukkah,
Rabbi David Wilfond