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Home From the Rabbi From the Rabbi - December 2018
From the Rabbi - December 2018 PDF Print E-mail
In his book “It Was On Fire When I Laid Down On It,” Robert Fulgham tells a story about the meaning of life.  He was attending a seminar and the speaker asked: "Are there any questions?" and Fulgham asked “What is the meaning of life?" After the inevitable  laughter the speaker stilled the room and said: "I will answer your question." He reached into his wallet and took out a very small round mirror and told the following story: "When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place. I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept only the largest piece. This one. And by scratching it on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find. I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child’s game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of light. But light truth, understanding, knowledge is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it. I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world into the black places in the hearts of men and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of life."
Chanukah is a festival of lights, both literally and figuratively.  Literally it is represented by the lights of the Chanukah menorah, which we light every night of Chanukah and present in our windows to share our joy and our pride in our Jewish tradition. But the light of Chanukah is also figurative, representing the light of truth and freedom, the light of joy and family, and the light of meaning.  We are not the light or the source of the light.  But, in a world with so much darkness, it is for us to shine that light into the dark places, to share our light with others and, hopefully, bring light and joy to all we meet.  And, in doing so, may we find meaning and inspiration for ourselves and others this Chanukah and beyond. 

                    Rabbi Ilan Emanuel


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