The winter is fast approaching and the pitter patter of rain has been splashing down and wetting the earth of the Land of Israel. It is green, moist, cloudy and brings to mind the passuk “I will make these and the environs of My Hill a blessing. I will send down the rain in its season, rains that bring a blessing.” (Yechezkel 34:26). It is the end of the olive harvest and the vats of oil are ready for Chanukah. There is a special bond between rain and earth here. You actually feel the passuk: “For as the rain drops from Heaven and returns not there, but soaks the earth and makes it bring forth vegetation, yielding seed for sowing and bread for eating.” (Isaiah 55:10)
The Land is giving fruit and abundance again to her people, a sure sign that Hashem has special plans for us as we continue to fortify the heartland of Israel and watch it grow and prosper. Looking back just less than a century, the Land did not look like this, for it lay fallow and dry for thousands of years. It was only when we came to Independence that it came to boast of KOL TOV- the best of everything. Our pioneers that came to drain the swamps and till the earth, dig wells, fight off the enemy in hard wars lived lives very similar to the founding fathers of the Jewish nation. The work is not finished yet even today.
Independence for the Jewish nation living in Israel is the key to our survival, the longings in every person’s heart that feels close to Israel.
Rabbi Nachman says that a person is not what he/she does, nor not what they think. A person is what he longs for. This is illustrated in the light of the sun and the moon vrs. The light of the candle- The sun shows us everything that exists (I am a —- you can see that) The moon shows us shades and shadows of things (I think ——) The candle though illuminates the yearnings of the soul. Chanukah is just that. It is a little light flickering in a dark dark time, when Greek philosophy of what you can do and what you think ruled. The Greeks tried to snuff out the candle of the soul. The Macabbees reinstated Independence to Israel igniting the soul of our bond to Jerusalem and Israel in the offering of the oil of the olive, the fruit indigenous like its people – to the Land.
We would like to bless you with a happy and healthy Chanukah. May there be much brightness and warm cheer in your homes and know that we are thinking of you always. Take comfort in knowing there are watchmen on the walls here on the top of the mountain, guarding Israel’s heart and shining a light in a dark and difficult time.
Chag Chanukah Sameyach, Leah Goldsmith