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Finding the Light

Claire Englander

Staff Writer


Light is a significant part of Judaism and is a huge part of everyday Jewish life. Light is seen as a symbol of the presence of God, hope, guidance, resilience, wisdom, and spirit. On Friday nights, the beginning of Shabbat, we light the Shabbat candles to welcome in light, warmth, and peace into our homes. Then, during Havdalah, we cleanse again with light to bring the new week in. An annual festival that is centered around light is coming up: Hanukkah. Hanukkah means dedication and is an invitation to rededicate ourselves to Mitzvot and bettering the world around us. Lighting the Menorah represents the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights in the Temple, bringing hope and light to the Israelites.

Light serves as a reminder to seek out the good and bring joy into our lives and the world. There is the important Jewish concept of “Tikkun Olam,” meaning “repairing the world”. This encourages us to engage in Mitzvot such as greeting someone with a warm hello, visiting people in need, and writing supportive letters to the IDF. Bringing light to everyone by helping others and our environment, we can actively brighten the world. In difficult times, Jewish rituals can also be very comforting. Whether it is praying and reciting Psalms, lighting candles for a Shabbat, Yahrtzeit and Yom Tov, or just being with a Jewish community.

Especially in this time, light is playing a large role in Jewish persistence. There are candles remembering all of the hostages and victims of this Israeli-Hamas war. Lighting these candles is a way to honor their lives. Light is a powerful symbol of resilience and a reminder to find hope and strength even in the darkest of times. It teaches us to be a light unto others and spread kindness and warmth everywhere we go. So, even during challenging times, let us continue to shine bright and be a source of light for ourselves and others.

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