December 22nd, 2022 — Hanukkah Kavanot 2022/5783
Happy Hanukkah, everyone.
My name is Sammy Kanter. I’m one of the rabbinic interns here at IKAR.
An element of Hanukkah I know we all find beautiful is the light that it brings into the world during this dark and cold time.
However, an element that I really love about Hanukkah is that our tradition commands us to bring our own individual personalized light into the world.
In the Talmud, it lists the commandment or mitzvah that each household should light a hanukkiah.
However, the Talmud continues to say “וְהַמְהַדְּרִין, נֵר לְכׇל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד” meaning Those who are zealous in fulfilling the mitzvah or those who seek to beautify the mitzvah, those people should have each and every member of the household light the hanukkiah.
That’s the tradition we’ve had in my family, both growing up and now. Each one of us lights a hanukkiah and we get to choose what that hanukkiah is each year based on our energy.
Maybe it’s an old family heirloom. Maybe it’s that arts and crafts hanukkiah made at synagogue many years ago. Or maybe it’s the new cheap one off the shelf at Target.
We each bring our own hanukkiah to the table and light. And I always see this as a vehicle for our own individual light to be spread out into the world.
So this year, as you light your hanukkiah, I invite you to think about what the hanukkiah is saying about the light that you want to bring into the world.
What about the colors, the texture? Even the theme of the hanukkiah is serving as a vehicle for you to spread your light.
And as we light this year, may we also think about what personalized, individual light our world needs from us. May we all have the creativity, the vision and the courage to let our own light shine bright this year.