Other People's Lives - Chanukah Edition

Friday, 30 December, 2016 - 11:59 am

Certainly, first and foremost Chanukah is a Jewish holiday with a uniquely Jewish message along with a mission and directive to the Jewish people. Yet, our sages clearly instruct that Chanukah has a message that is universal and therefore the notion of Pirsumei Nissa (Aramaic for publicizing the miracle) applies not only to fellow Jews but also to all people. Hence the Rebbe’s encouragement of the effort to light Menorahs in public places and get public officials and dignitaries involved. True this enhances Jewish observance of Chanukah but it also serves the Pirsumei Nissa agenda of publicizing the message of Chanukah even to those that are not Jewish.

This is why Chanukah is a holiday that is “made for social media.” Every Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat post or Tweet about someone’s observance of Chanukah furthers the agenda of Pirsumei Nissa. Chabad’s #sharethelights campaign has brought it together in a broad manner and there are thousands posting that are not even using the hashtag.

This is one of the times where watching OPL (other people’s lives) on social media is meaningful. I have really been enjoying seeing the posts and the pride that my fellow Jews take in their Chanukah observance and celebration.

So what is the message of Chanukah that is universally applicable? For a ninety second soundbite I invite you to watch my appearance on Fox8 on the morning of Chanukah @ Riverwalk.

In the meantime, Chanukah @ Riverwalk was a great success this year with record attendance, great weather and a wonderful program. Warm words were shared by Rivkie Chesney, State Senator JP Morell, Eddie Soll, Frank Quinn, Morris Bart and Rabbi Zelig Rivkin. The Menorah was lit by Gene Gekker and the blessings were recited by Gershon Schreiber. There was a latke bar, Kosher Cajun food booth, Facepainting by Irina, a Dreidel House featuring brick4kidz and a craft, music and a laser show by Ooh La La – Shawn and Eric. Photos below or at See also a photo gallery by Michael DeMocker at

Chabad of Baton Rouge ( held a Menorah lighting at the Capital with Commissioner Jay Dardenne, while Chabad of Southern Mississippi ( had a Menorah lighting at Edgewater Mall with the mayor of Biloxi in attendance. There was a celebration at Chabad Metairie ( for Israelis and a family Chanukah party the next night. A Menorah was lit at Lambeth House and another at the VA hospital as well as Lakeside Shopping Center.

The final hurrah is the Krewe of Chanukah AKA the Mobile Menorah Parade rolling Saturday night on the eighth night of Chanukah.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday and Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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