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The Miracle of Turning Darkness into Light

The Miracle of Turning Darkness into Light

Chanukah

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Knowing that each of us has a portion of the divine within us can illuminate our perceptions of each another. When we label someone, we identify him or her strictly by that label or stereotype. However, we can dispel that limited view, or darkness, by recognizing that each person is a multifaceted being, encapsulating a full spectrum of feelings and experiences as an expression of the Divine Light.

Following the Chashmonaim’s victory over the Greeks, kohanim (priests) searched the wreckage of the Temple for precious oil to light the menorah. They found just enough oil to keep the menorah lit for one day. During Chanukah we celebrate the miracle that this one-day supply of oil kept the menorah lit for eight days. Why did Hashem make a miracle involving light? What is special about the emphasis on light?

In the Zohar there is an argument about the nature of darkness. It asks, “Is darkness an entity unto itself, or is darkness merely a lack of light?”

The Zohar concludes that darkness is the absence of light.

If darkness is the absence of light, then a little bit of light will illuminate a lot of darkness. In Tanya, foolishness is compared to darkness. When one acts foolishly, just one small insightful idea will dispel the foolishness. This same concept can be applied to any negative human trait. For example, to dispel fear, all one needs is a courageous moment. It is written in the Torah that “this one opposite that one, Hashem created”—meaning that if there is light, then there has to be darkness. Similarly, if there is good, then there is evil.

Just as the kohanim looked at the amount of oil and believed it to last for only one day, what beliefs limit our perception of people who have disabilities? What stereotypes keep us in the dark?

Stereotyping another person is similar to standing on a hillside at night. Our vision is strictly limited by our perceptions, as we can’t really see what is out there. But in the daylight, the field of vision is exponentially broadened, and we can see all that is there to see.

When Moshiach comes, the all-encompassing Infinite Light of Hashem will be revealed. This will completely dispel our limitations and bring us to our full potential.

Rabbi Yonason Beitz lives in Beitar Illit, Israel, and holds a master’s degree in special education. He is a contributing writer for the Ruderman-Chabad Inclusion Initiative (RCII).
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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