Have an Oily Chanukah

Friday, 19 December, 2014 - 11:11 am

We are right in the middle of Chanukah and the good times have been rolling! A full report will come next week, G-d willing. Some pictures have been uploaded to the website and many more to come.

One of the major features of Chanukah is anything made with oil. Latkes and sufganiyot are all the rage. Oil is a funny thing. Oil in a Menorah on Chanukah equals a Mitzvah; oil in your hair equals a bad hair day. Oil in a frying pan under latkes equals a Jewish tradition; oil in your facial pores equals zits. So what’s the deal with the oil? Of course we commemorate the miracle of the oil lasting eight days. But there is more to this. We don’t drink water on the seventh day of Passover to remember the splitting of the sea. There something regarding oil that makes it special and worthwhile incorporating into our commemorative tradition.

As always Chassidus gives us the deeper insight. Oil has two qualities that give us a lesson in Jewish life. On one hand, oil doesn’t really mix with any other liquid. Inevitably it floats to the top and separates out. On the other hand whenever oil is inserted into another substance(s) within a short time it manages to affect it entirely. Put a little oil into a dish of food and it becomes oily all over. So while it doesn’t really assimilate it still impacts whatever with which it comes into contact.

As Jews these two qualities must be paramount in our Jewish psyche. On one hand we must remember that we are different and we must remain distinct. Even when we are mixed in by force or by choice, inevitably we float up and separate out, by force or by choice. At the same time, a Jew is always supposed to have a positive impact in his environment. Just as oil impacts everything it touches, we too must be a light unto the nations and never leave the world around unaffected by the lives we live.

Wishing you an oily Chanukah!!

Mazel Tov to Rabbi Michoel and Leah Kerendian upon the birth of their son.

Mazel Tov David and Karine Gies of Paris, France upon the birth of their daughter, Chaya Mushka.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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