Tidbits of Torah

Let There Be Light!

Shabbat Parashat VaYeshev

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh headshot white 2015cropped

December 24, 2016 – 24 Kislev 5777

Dear Friends,

The creation story is very familiar to us. The Bible tells us that God said: Let there be light! And there was light!…But then there was also darkness. And the darkness was not only each night. As the season progressed from the time of Creation (which was around what we now know as Rosh HaShana time), the daylight hours of each day grew shorter and shorter. And, we all know how that feels, even if we love winter…

A midrash in the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Avodah Zarah) tells us that soon after Creation, Adam thought that the days were growing shorter and shorter because of some sin that he had committed. But, then, after the winter solstice, Adam saw that the days were slowly becoming longer and longer, and he realized that the length of the daylight hours might simply be subject to seasonal changes. In his tremendous relief, the midrash tells us, Adam celebrated by making an eight day festival!

Adam’s eight day festival, the precursor of our eight day Chanukah celebration, reminds us that lighting candles around the time of the winter solstice is a reflection of the light and darkness that enter our lives at various times. But, even in times of great darkness, we still look forward to the light “at the end of the tunnel.”

In the beginning, God said: Let there be light! And there was light! Now, it is up to us to light the Chanukah candles, and to say: Let there be light! And, together, we will surely increase the light in our lives and in the world around us!

Shabbat Shalom and a very happy Chanukah to all!

Rabbi Gilah Dror
P.S. Rosh Chodesh Tevet will be on Thursday night and on Friday of this coming week!