Chanukah has so many important meanings and messages. For table conversation this Shabbat, try to think of as many as you can. Perhaps reward the child (of any age) who can think of the most. Try to include in the discussion why Chanukah is as relevant these days as ever and why it may be even more important now than ever.
I try every year to make sure that I learn something more about Chanukah than I knew or thought about before. In my case, that is not that difficult.
I love Chanukah because, for me, it symbolizes the war we fight every day to maintain the identity, values and traditions we hold dear against the pressures of society, that God is with us in our struggles and that as partners with God, we can help bring about miracles for ourselves and others.
Now a little learning….
On Chanukah we read from the Book of Bamidbar in Parashat Naso and specifically about the gifts of the Princes of the Tribes for the dedication of the Mishkan. One might think that perhaps we should read about the Menorah in the Mishkan instead. Indeed, isn’t Chanukah about the miracle of the lights of the Menorah?
Actually, our Sages tell us that the construction of the Mishkan was actually completed on the 25th of Kislev (but the dedication was delayed to Nisan for another reason). So, we are told that the dedication of the Mishkan is the template Torah reading. It is also no coincidence that these readings from the Torah are immediately preceded by the priestly benediction (and it is the Kohanim who are the heroes of the Chanukah story). Interestingly too, the gifts of the princes are followed immediately with the dedication of the Menorah in the Temple in the Parasha of B’haalot’cha.
So the Torah itself has a clue to Chanukah and the Torah reading is a micro version. And now you know the rest of the story.
This Shabbat we learn with Jodi Gross who says that we will discuss, “…Joseph’s transformation from a slave to a leader in Egypt, how he handles new responsibilities and his reactions to reuniting with his brothers who sold him into slavery.”
Come as you are. Stay as long as you like.
Please accept my heartiest best wishes to you for all the blessings of Chanukah to be renewed through and for you. May you celebrate many more Chanukah festivals with family and friends long into the future.
Chag Chanukah Sameyach and Shabbat shalom!