- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On December 15, 2017
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings!
We are right in the middle of Chanukah.
And right in the middle of the Shabbat service, we add this prayer (Mishkan T’filah pg. 265) for the Festival of Lights:
We thank You for the miracles, for the redemption, for the mighty deeds and saving acts, brought about by You, and for the wars which You waged for our ancestors in the days of old, at this season.
We begin with a mixture of the reasons for Chanukah and what happened. Miracles and wars, redemption and salvation. It happened to our ancestors and our gratitude continues to this moment. But there is more to the story expressed in what continues:
In the days of the Hasmoneans, Mattathias ben Yohanan, the high priest, and his children, the evil [tyrant] rose up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and to make them leave the laws…; [but You were at their side in time of trouble] You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few… the evil into the hands of the righteous, and the arrogant into the hands of those who engage in Your Torah.
History reveals itself through a Force greater than the human story. It is a prayer, after all, and a reminder that power can be turned on its head through the combined effort of the Divine and engagement in Torah. But, what results?
…Your children came to the Holy of Holies, and emptied Your temple, and purified Your holy place, and lit candles in Your holy courts, and established these eight days of Chanukah grateful to acknowledge, and to praise Your great name.
In the end, it was actually the people who transformed the temple into a hallowed sanctuary, a place to celebrate and express their joy and gratitude. They had to own the ultimate redemption and salvation to establish not just the holiday, but also its very reason to exist.
So, we offer this prayer as a reminder of our role to “publicize the miracle” as the Talmud instructs us to do, by placing our Chanukah menorah in the window so that passers by can see it. We are all part of this magnificent story of engagement in our own redemption and opportunity to treasure our tradition and its lessons offered by our ancestors in days of old, in this season.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah!
We are in full Chanukah celebration mode tonight. Shabbat Mishpachah begins at 5:00 p.m., which means dinner for families. Then, we all join together for a joyous Shabbat at 6:00 p.m. with lots of singing. Then, we have a congregational Chanukah party in the atrium brought to us by the Membership and Engagement Committee. Word has it that there will be lots of latkes and donuts, and some other fun surprises.
The Riverway Project gathers for its own Shabbat Chanukah celebration with Soul Food Friday at 7:00 p.m.
The fun continues with Torah study on Saturday morning with a short Shabbat service at 9:00 a.m. followed by engaging conversation and learning.
The Village of families with young children starts their Shabbat Chanukah celebrating at 10:30 a.m.