Hanukkah is a heartwarming opportunity for reﬂection and inspiration.
Combining candle lighting with these readings and stories will make your Hanukkah celebration even more meaningful. Some of them are speciﬁcally Jewish, but more are based on the universal values we all hold in our hearts. Try it this way: read about peace the ﬁrst night and then add acceptance the second night and so on. By the eighth night, you will have a lot of wisdom!
Day 1: PEACE. The first Hanukkah candle of the year sparks a call for peace. Just as the world wasn’t peaceful in the time of the Maccabees, it’s still not peaceful today. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Let this candle be a spark for peace for me, my family and friends, and everyone on the earth.
Day 2: ACCEPTANCE. The second Hanukkah candle sparks acceptance. Gaining acceptance of ourselves and others relieves aggravation and makes room for love. On this night, let’s remember that “Most people need acceptance a lot more than they need advice.”
Day 3: REPAIRING THE WORLD. The third Hanukkah candle sparks a desire to repair the world. There is so much to do, but what if each of us really considered it our responsibility? “There once was a man who stood before God, his heart breaking from the pain and injustice in the world. ‘Dear God,’ he cried out, ‘look at all the suffering and the anguish in your world! Why don’t you send help?’ God replied, ‘I did. I sent you.’”
-Rabbi David Wolpe
Day 4: THE GOLDEN RULE. The fourth Hanukkah candle sparks treating people how we would want to be treated. “Someone once asked the wise Rabbi Hillel to stand on one foot and quickly teach him the entire Torah! So, Rabbi Hillel stood on one foot and said, “That which is hateful to you, don’t do to anyone else. All the rest is commentary.” Sometimes people call this the “Golden Rule.” Whatever you want to call it, let’s let the fourth candle remind us to treat others as we would want to be treated.
Day 5: COMPASSION. The fifth Hanukkah candle sparks compassion; compassion for ourselves, our friends, animals, even those we don’t like that much. Being compassionate can change everything. “You can either practice being right or practice being kind.”
Day 6: DIVERSITY. The sixth candle sparks the importance of honoring how diverse our world is. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion [or sexual orientation]. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can learn to love, because love comes more naturally to the human heart.”
Day 7: FORGIVENESS. Forgiveness is not just for Yom Kippur. The seventh candle sparks forgiveness, which in some cases is wildly difficult to achieve but is always worth the effort. “The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.”
Day 8: GRATITUDE. We are at the end of Hanukkah – the big finale! The final eighth candle sparks gratitude. “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”
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