Hanukkah is associated with miracles, standing up in the face of opposition, and succeeding
against the odds. The Maccabees, a small band of rebels, fought against the mighty Greek-
Assyrian army and prevailed in the end. They returned to the Temple and lit the one day’s
worth of oil, which then lasted for eight days.
Jewish tradition focuses on God’s role in these miracles. Yet, the miracle of the Maccabees
surely had something to do with their actions too. The outcome did not rest only in God’s
hands. The involvement of people’s beliefs and actions is also involved with the miracle of the
oil. With little chance of “success” they lit the one jar of oil anyway. They were okay wanting
what they wanted, trying what they could, acting “as if” in spite of what was presented in front
of them. That is the personal miracle.
Regardless if you believe that God intervened or not, they acted “as if.” To be sure, we cannot
be stiff necked and stubborn, however the story teaches that it’s okay to want, it’s okay to
reach for more, it’s okay to act while hoping that something else will carry us, that a light will
come on, that we will succeed.
Each night, the Hanukkiah is lit adding one more candle. Each candle symbolizing the increasing
of the miracle that the lights last. They are lit with a traditional blessing for the mitzvah of
lighting candles and a blessing that we remember the miracles performed at this time in years
past. One the first night, a blessing is added recognizing that we have again reached a new
moment, that God has sustained us and brought us to it. In this case, that we are reminded of
I want believe in miracles
But I’m not sure
I know what a miracle is.
Beyond the odds.
A divine intervention.
A wish granted.
They all seem
But if I hoped, if I dared, what I want my miracle to be is
That when I open up to someone about experiencing infertility,
they say something sensitive and supportive.
Nobody asks me about having children
until I have children.
My friends are all pregnant and having babies
and it doesn’t bother me at all.
I never wonder if I did something
to cause this to happen to me.
I feel that my/his/her body is my best friend.
I know if I am going to have a baby.
Treatment for infertility is bearable
and covered by insurance.
I experience all of this with equanimity and grace
and stay focused on the rest of my life without worry.
Eight miracles. Eight blessings. Eight lights for my darkness. Let them burn hot and bright.
I would feel blessed for those lights.
I would appreciate those miracles past and present.
I would be forever grateful for reaching those moments.
By Rabbi Idit Solomon