The Manchester’s community UJIA Shaliach Sahar Sazgar reflects on Chanukah’s core message.
“Every person must know and understand that there is a candle lit within them. And their candle is like no other, and there is no person without a candle. And every person must work to show the light to the world and turn it into a great torch and illuminate the entire world” – Abraham Isaac Kook
Chanukah is such an amazing time. Doughnuts, latkes and dreidels all around, everybody lighting the menorah together and singing songs. But what is so important about the light of Chanukah that everybody talks about?
During Chanukah, the movement workers of the Jewish youth movements around Manchester (FZY, HABO, Bnei Akiva, Tzofim) and myself went to King David High School with a big Menorah that we drew ourselves and asked the students to write one answer around our Menorah to the question: “What is the light in their life?”
We received more than 500 answers. Some students wrote their favourite kind of food, some wrote about their favourite football club (more United than City to be honest!) and some wrote the names of their closest friends- but, the majority of answers on the Chanukiah wall was: family.
As I see it, family is one of the most important values that Judaism teaches us time after time. Everything in Jewish life relates to family. From the day you are born and then on to your Bar/ Bat Mitzvah – which signifies to your family that this is the day you become responsible for your actions. On Pesach we say ‘Vahegadeta lebinha” – every parent has to teach their children about the amazing miracle that happened. Shabbat dinner has all the family sitting together, discussing how their week has been. Respecting your father and mother is another example of how important family values are.
Judaism teaches us that we are one big family. A big Jewish family that supports each other, looks after each other and protects each other from people who try to destroy us. A family that has its sons and daughters around the world, but they always know that they are really welcome to join their missing parents to have Shabbat dinner in their home, their homeland, Israel.
Israel, the place for the Jewish people around the world, will forever feel like home – safe, protected, together, with problems from outside and also from within. Sometimes we have to fix the roof…Mancunians should know that…but it is always home.