This essay was originally written for a special Chanukah essay contest, the winner of which would be invited to read her essay at the National Menorah Lighting in Washington, DC. Chaya won.

Chanukah has a special meaning to me. Let us start at the beginning. The Jews tried to study Torah and do mitzvot. The Greeks did not approve at all. They tried everything in their power to stop them, but G‑d did not let them hurt his Jewish people.

Yehudit was a woman who risked her own life to help the Jews. First she went to the top general. Did you know that going to the general was very dangerous? He could have done anything to her; but, Yehudit had a plan. When she arrived, she gave him some salty cheese and some wine. After a little bit, he got tired and fell asleep. Yehudit took the general's sword and killed him.

This incident with Yehudit teaches us that a woman was a very special and important part of the Chanukah miracle. All women and girls of all ages should learn from Yehudit. They should learn to be brave and to have a lot of faith in G‑d. Yehudit did something and risked her life to save her people.

These days it is much easier to learn Torah and do mitzvot because no one is trying to stop us from doing what the Torah says. Therefore, during the eight days of Chanukah we should take the opportunity to daven with more kavana (intent) and learn better than before.

Today every one of you here is going to light their menorah. Every night you add another candle on the menorah. Did you ever stop and think that every time you light a candle you add another light in the world?!