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The Jewish Festival of Chanukah

Hello beautiful people,

For those of you who know me, and for those of you who don’t know me so well, one of my passions is tapping into the wisdoms of the Jewish holidays, to see how their teachings are still relevant in our current times. Tonight, we celebrate the eve of Chanukah, an 8-day celebration also known as the Festival of Light and the Festival of Miracles.

Chanukah came about because in the second century BCE, the Greek-Syrians enforced their control over the Land of Israel, suppressing all of the inhabitants, forcing them to comply to their laws; they decreed that the Jews may not practice their customs which of course caused hardship for many. In short, a small army led by Judah the Maccabee fought for the their freedom and miraculously defeated the mighty Greeks. This is known to be the 1st miracle of Chanukah.

Throughout history, many pious groups were extremely intolerant of others' beliefs. The Spanish Inquisition for example, reminds us of the cruelty and suffering people are capable of inflicting when others do not comply.

I found this article today by Asher Lowenstein that expresses my sentiment so poignantly that I feel to share his exact words with you below:

“So, what did the Greeks learn from their ruthless decrees against the Jews? They found out that one cannot wage battle against people who are powered by their beliefs. It is a lesson that should have been heeded by future generations—but unfortunately was not. No matter what weapons are employed, they can only assail the body of the enemy, because his inner fervor and commitments are impervious to all attacks. On the contrary, these assaults can serve only to stimulate the enemy's zeal and enhance his dedication. The Greeks enacted those unheard-of decrees because they were so exasperated by the Jews' inflexible clinging to their traditions. During the war fought against the Greeks, the Jews demonstrated that the same unyielding faith can repel even the most powerful forces. They proved that a tiny, but motivated group of people can overcome the fiercest opposition.

“This, then, is the lesson which should be gleaned from Chanukah. No display of might can ever banish that spark of hope and courage from man's heart. Tanks and battleships cannot vanquish the fortitude and determination for one's convictions. Brutality and aggressiveness will not overcome the passion which an individual feels for his beliefs. In the face of terror and discrimination, the deepest wells of mankind's gallant capabilities are exposed, enabling a handful of resisters to repel those that harass them. It happened over two thousand years ago, has occurred since, and will continue to take place: because that inner reserve of resilience and valor has never been diminished.” For the full article on Chanukah by Asher Lowenstein follow this link:

We have an 8-day portal to call in Light & Miracles! This is an invitation to tap in for 8 days beginning tonight, honouring our ancestors that fought for their beliefs, and their faith in the truth of their God.

Every night of this 8-day festival we light a Menorah (a sacred candelabrum). As millions of Jews around the world light the 1st candle of Chanukah, my prayer is that people remember that God gave humans free will and the ability to choose right from wrong. Freedom of choice is our birth right, and what is right for one may be wrong for the other. That is the beauty of polarity which teaches us so many life lessons.

The second miracle of Chanukah is the miracle of the olive oil lasting for 8 days.

When the Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after winning the war with the Greeks, they rededicated it to the service of God. They built a new altar and made a new menorah. According to tradition, the lamps of the menorah were lit daily from fresh, consecrated olive oil and burned from evening until morning. When they were ready to light the new menorah, they found only one small jar of pure olive oil. There was enough oil to light and burn for only one day. By a miracle of God, the oil continued to burn for eight days, until new oil was available made according to the sacred instructions. That is the reason we celebrate this miracle for 8 days. When we least expect it, miracles happen. The symbology of lighting a sacred flame in honour of God, without any expectation is so potent. Honour Spirit, acknowledge Spirit, give thanks and pray to Spirit. We say a prayer when lighting the Chanukah candles, thanking God for the miracles he performed for our forefathers in those days, at this time. It is so important to give thanks and acknowledge the miracles in our daily lives, for our breath, for our healthy hearts, for creation and so much more.

The tradition is that on the first night of the festival we light 1 candle, on the second night 2, and each night we ascend until we reach 8 candles. Each night we intentionally increase the light.

It is often suggested to stay close to the Chanukah candles when they burn and listen to the messages of the flickering flames. What are your thoughts on this one? “Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right. Judah Maccabee and his band faced daunting odds, but that didn’t stop them. With a prayer on their lips and faith in their heart, they entered the battle of their lives—and won. We can do the same.”

Tonight, mine say to stand tall and proud in my truth. Even though we are different, as different as the colours and sizes of all the candles, we stand upright in strength when we are side by side, all connected by something much deeper in-spite of our differences. Tomorrow there will be more light, and the night after that even more. Keep kindling the flame.

Tonight, is the 4th night of Chanukah. My prayer is that we continue to ground the increasing Light at this time and strengthen our faith in the Creator of all that is, and in our own internal light to keep burning strong.

Gotta love the Spirit of this very special festival. I definitely believe in miracles, do you?

Happy Chanukah everyone!

Wishing you all a beautiful Festival of Light and Miracles,

With love, Etty

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