The Greatest Miracle of All, by Rabbi Roni Handler

The legends we pass on to our children teach us about the possibility of miracles all around us—each and every day.  

Every Hanukkah we retell miraculous events from our history.  We recall the story of Judah Maccabee and how a small army was victorious against all odds.  We tell the story of how one small cruse of oil lasted for eight nights, when it was expected to burn only for one.  These legends, which we continue to pass on to our children, teach us about the possibility of miracles all around us—each and every day. 

In the midst of the season’s darkness, these stories also provide us with a sense of hope.  Hope that miracles might actually occur.  Hope that we can bring a little more light into the world each day.  Hope that every one of us holds the power to create change. The stories we tell and the rituals we share convey this optimistic message of hope, as well as a joyous atmosphere in which to celebrate with our family and friends.

Ritualwell is proud to offer rituals—new and old, traditional and innovative—to help you celebrate this Hanukkah.  Watch this video to learn (or remember) how to light Hanukkah candles!  Learn about the North African custom of Chag HaBanot/Festival of Daughters and all the yummy foods and blessings that can be added on the seventh night of Hanukkah.  And try adding blessings for the environment or those in need of healing while lighting the candles each night.

Whether we are frying up bubbe’s latkes or trying out a new gourmet recipe; lighting one menorah per household or one per person; or playing dreidel with pennies or candies, the eight nights of Hanukkah afford multiple opportunities to bring joy and light into the world.  We hope that you will check back with us over the coming weeks—on our site and also on facebook—to join in our Hanukkah conversation.  Tell us about your special rituals and customs and how you plan to celebrate Hanukkah this year. Tell us about your favorite latke recipe! Are you a latke purist? What songs do you sing as you light the Hanukkah menorah? How do you approach gift giving in your community?  How have you incorporated tzedakah into your celebration?  

Together we create the rituals and the memories that will be passed down to the next generation.  Playing a game of dreidel we are reminded “neys gadol hayah sham” (a great miracle happened there).  But miracles are not limited to the grand and the long ago. They also are small with the potential to happen anywhere.  When we witness rituals passed from one generation to the next—linking the past and future—that is, perhaps, the greatest miracle of all.