Our world has been turned upside down in many ways. We all long for a return to normalcy, to a world without masks, and the ability to see smiles.
In all this, one thing has remained a constant - children are being born.
Up until now, the children that have entered the world were mostly conceived before any lockdowns. Any children born in the coming weeks and months will have been conceived after lockdowns - which means that while no one could predict the future or what the future would look like (i.e. 2 weeks which have become 9 months), the human spirit has indicated that we are not stopping to live life and to bring new life into the world.
With Chanukah beginning this week, the concept of the Menorah illuminating the darkness is a fitting symbol of the soul of the Jewish people as a collective. We are here. We are participating in life affirmation. We will see through this time to a better tomorrow. And we will continue to affirm our commitment to God through practicing one of the rituals the villains of the Chanukah story tried to take away from us - our Covenant with God, which has carried us through the millennia to where we are today. (Which is where my job comes into the picture). It is a blessing to see the smiles and to join in the celebration - as the mohel - when the baby is a boy and he is having his bris.
We are a people who survive all obstacles - whether human borne or nature borne. We live to make a Kiddush Hashem, to sanctify God's name in this world. We carry the torch that is the shining light of our Torah and our ancient traditions.
We don't extinguish the light - we contribute the light.
Blessings to all for a happy Chanukah. And blessings to those who will be bringing life into this dark world. May these precious Jewish neshamas be a light of joy in your household, and may they be the symbol of hope for ourselves and our people in the hopefully numbered days of difficulty that still lie ahead of us.