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Parashat Vayishlach

December 4, 2020
18 Kislev 5781
Parashat Vayishlach
Genesis 32:4 - 36:43

Dear Friends,

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, begins on Thursday evening, December 10th, after sunset. it is a holiday that has gained traction over time, with each generation and location adding meaning and resonance to what was a minor non-biblical festival on the Jewish calendar.

This year, the power of the Talmudic story speaks to us anew: the story of the miracle of a vial with enough oil to last for one day lasting for eight alongside the cleansing and rededication of the Temple after it had been desecrated. Our world is out of balance and the idea of rededicating ourselves and bringing in the light has new resonance.

Leonard Cohen’s Anthem speaks to our moment and to the Festival of Chanukah as well. There is no perfect offering, there never was, and there never will be. Keeping the flame lit and bringing the light in is a task worth pursuing. And like the Chanukah story, which is mythic in nature although it based on historical events, the celebration is incomplete until we bring our own light into it.

The miracle of the oil is the miracle of renewal, of hope, and of going forward.  As in Leonard Cohen’s words, the larger the crack, the greater the light that we allow in. When we join together, that beacon becomes even greater. In these challenging times, our task is to let the light in together and ring those bells proclaiming hope and action. As we proclaim the rededication of the past, may we find ways of coming together and sharing the light that each of us has.

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be
Yeah the wars they will
Be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
Bought and sold
And bought again
The dove is never free

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That's how the light gets in...

You can add up the parts
You won't have the sum
You can strike up the march
There is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come
But like a refugee
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That's how the light gets in
Ring the bells that still can ring (ring the bells that still can ring)
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That's how the light gets in
That's how the light gets in
That's how the light gets in
(Leonard Cohen, Anthem)

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Tue, April 13 2021 1 Iyyar 5781