Those duck-and-cover drills of my youth in the United States that we practiced in school prepared me for the major earthquake that occurred when I was 11 years old. Technically, I knew what to do. Duck under my desk and cover the back of my head with my hands. But it didn’t prepare me for the fear that I felt. Those technical drills didn’t prepare me for how to deal with anxiety, fear or worry.

InI want to prepare them life, we have all kinds of preparations: classes to prepare you for marriage, for birth and for how to drive a car. Classes and drills are meant to equip you with skills. But with all of these classes, I still feel at times like I’m knocked off my feet because the classes prepare me for what to do, but still don’t address my inner turmoil of what I am going through.

I think about this as my children get older. I want to prepare them for different scenarios they will encounter in their lives—the complexities of how to confront different types of people, how to face struggles, how to work out a disagreement with a spouse, get along with in-laws, and raise children with differing needs and personalities.

On the other hand, I don’t want to create anxiety and fear. I also want to empower them with the knowledge that they can and will make mistakes, and that’s OK—that’s exactly how one learns and grows.

When the Greeks ruled the Land of Israel more than 2,000 years ago, they brought the Hellenistic culture that emphasized external beauty, physical strength and outcomes as a measurement of success. The body was glorified; the soul, negated. Superiority was solely based on external factors. If you had beauty and physical strength, you were admired; if not, you were nothing. Unfortunately, we are still surrounded by this culture today.

But if I am just a body, without a soul, without a Higher purpose, then what will happen to me when I confront the challenges of life? What happens when that beauty or physical strength is taken away? Who am I without my money and external power? What is my strength when I confront a test? I can duck and cover under my desk, but I don’t know how to handle my lingering fear or anxiety. I will, no doubt, fall apart, break down and not be able to live up to the test.

What do I think of myself if I don’t have physical strength or vitality, or if I lack society’s ideal of beauty or success? I will most likely feel worthless or like a failure. My life then becomes overwhelmed with darkness, depression and despair.

So perhaps along with all the specific preparation for life events, there is something missing. Perhaps the underlying theme must be the lesson that we learn from the first thing a Jew says every morning upon arising, “Thankful I am before You, living and enduring King, for you have mercifully restored my soul within me. Great is Your faithfulness.”

We thank G‑d for giving us back our soul. Why? Where did it go? The sages explain (Berachot 57) that sleep is actually 1/60 of death. The soul returned to you is in part resurrected, rejuvenated, given the exact tools that it needs to get through that day. If you woke up, it’s because you still have a purpose and a mission to complete today—and not only that, but the G‑d-given strengths to do so.

Next when saying, “Great is Your faithfulness” it reaffirms that G‑d Himself believes in us. Not only are we commanded to believe in Him, but He believes in us!

The question is: Do we believe in ourselves? Do we connect to the fact that I have a mission today that only I can do? I have a purpose and a specific G‑d-given reason for being here.

And so, we have the holiday of Chanukah, which is celebrated in the coldest, darkest, longest nights of the year. We have one special mitzvah to do during this eight-day holiday which is to go out into the dark night and illuminate that darkness with the flame of a candle/wick.

What does the light of a candle represent? Your soul.

In your darkest of moments, you always have within you light, resilience, strength, greatness. And nobody, nothing can extinguish it.

SoWe have inner resilience while preparation and knowledge is power, and tools and skills are building blocks, more than anything, I feel the need to instill in myself and my children is that no matter what the situation, G‑d is within, and G‑d is without, and that we have the inner resilience to get through each and every situation.

Each night of Chanukah as I light that flame, I will meditate on the awareness: “With You G‑d, there is no darkness, only light. You are the one Who gives me my innate resilience and whatever I need to get through this day. And moreover, You believe that I can do it.”

Dedicated in memory of my father, Shmuel Moshe ben Nechemia, z"l.