"The light at the end of the tunnel."

"You light up my life."

"He's an enlightened person."

If you recorded every word you said for 24 hours, you'd probably find hundreds of references to light. Light, brightness, radiance — these are the metaphors we use when we wish to speak about hope, wisdom, and goodness. The candle flame, the ray of light, the glowing coal — these are the images in which we recognize our yearning for a better world, for a wiser, more virtuous, more G‑dly self.

We are encouraged by the fact that a luminous body like the sun, by simply being what it is, can have such a profound effect on entities and beings millions of miles away, enriching them with light, warmth, energy and life. We are encouraged by the fact that a tiny flame can banish a roomful of darkness. If so, all is not lost. If our own souls are "candles of G‑d" (as King Solomon proclaims in the Book of Proverbs), then little me is not so little after all. The big bad world out there can yet be transformed. All we need to do is be what we truly are, to act out our innate goodness, and the darkness will melt away.

Once a year, we celebrate this truth. For eight days and nights, we celebrate the power of light: in ascending number — one little flame on the first evening, two flames on the second, three on the third — we kindle the Chanukah menorah, recalling that miraculous victory, 22 centuries ago, of quality over quantity, spirit over materialism, right over might. And pray for the day when such victories are no longer "miracles", but the way things are in G‑d's world.