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December 18, 2015  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

What now?

By RABBI SHALOM ADLER Young Israel/Chabad of Pinellas County, Palm Harbor

There is a famous Chasidic story that one year, when the fast of Yom Kippur was over, Rabbi Dovber, who would eventually become the second Chabad Rebbe, asked his father, the famed Rabbi Scheur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad; “What Now?” His father responded; “Now we have to really do Teshuva (repent)!”

The question is quintessentially Jewish in nature, and the response is equally characteristic. For us as Jews there is no “down time.” As soon as we have ascended one spiritual height, we look for more mountains to climb.

Hanukkah is over, and we too have to ask ourselves; “What now?” For eight days we kindled the menorah, each day increasing the light, but what do we do now? Do we retreat into darkness again? G-d forbid!

Mystically speaking, the reason we light eight candles is because the number eight symbolizes transcendence. There are seven days in which G-d created the world, and eight surpasses the natural order of the world. Once we light eight candles, the light continues to intensify, and does not diminish and cannot be extinguished.

The interesting feature of light is that it can be shared without weakening the original light. As the Talmudic expression goes: “Ner L’echad, Ner L’elef” The same candle can benefit one person, and benefit one thousand.

So share the light you experience over Hanukkah with neighbors and friends. Realize that your own light is not in any way dimmed by the end of Hanukkah. On the contrary, it has achieved a transcendent status.

So, what now? Go light up the world!

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press in cooperation with the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the board. The views expressed in the column are those of the rabbi and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Press nor the Board of Rabbis.

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