Friday, December 11, 2009

Blessed Hanukkah

Hi and Shalom,
This brief reflection is from the Jewish Federations web site and is timely for this current Hanukkah in North America.
Let us recall as we celebrate the Light in our world being Yeshua Hamashiach, and like He, be about saving others from their numerous sins."
I will not be posting until January 2010 and will then resume thoughts from the title, Bound For Freedom.
Please leave comments or contact me at
Now the reflection.
> Jewish Reflections From the Front: A Hanukkah Thought
Jewish Reflections From the Front: A Hanukkah Thought
Rabbi Mitchell Ackerson
Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel), U.S. Army
Brigade Chaplain, 220th Military Police Brigade
Senior Jewish Chaplain, Operation Iraqi Freedom
December 19, 2003

Tonight Jews around the world will begin to celebrate the Festival of Hanukkah. The candles will be lit and the festivities will commence. Most will think of it as a very happy holiday (as it should be) but most will not dwell too long on the concepts of freedom, Jewish self-determination, and religious rededication that are the true core values of Hanukkah.

We too will start Hanukkah tonight. Soldiers everywhere in this theater will gather together as you do, but our thoughts will be a little more directed.

Most will have struggled to get someplace that a rabbi might visit this next week, they have argued vociferiously in many cases to be able to find a place to light the menorah, and they will have lived first-hand the experience of bringing freedom and religious rights to others.

While I am sure I will write after Hanukkah, I wanted to present you a thought that says we should not only wish each other a freilche (happy) Hanukkah, but an illuminating Hanukkah. That we should look at the flames' flickering glow and remember the sacrifices that the Hasmoneans 2,000 years ago in Modin endured, and what Jews have continued to sacrifice for those ideals over the centuries until today.

The candles should be illuminating, lighting our ways and opening our eyes to the struggle and sacrifice that many have endured so that others have the chance to enjoy the fruits of freedom, and religious observance around the world. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are at the vanguard of both the sacrifice and the thrill of seeing those freedoms realized.

As you light your candles tonight think of all those who could not, or who do so in conditions less than ideal. Let the light open your eyes and warm your hearts to remember the essence of Hanukkah and those who struggle to observe it.

As we say in one of our American favorites, "My Country 'Tis of Thee:"

"Long may our Land be Bright, with Freedom's Holy Light"

May the Holy Light of the Hanukkah candles burn bright, not only in America, but around the world, heralding freedom and a rededication to our faith.

A very happy and Illuninating Hanukkah to you all.

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