Much has been written on the meaning of the holidays. Thanksgiving is easy; it’s right there in the name, and it’s a secular holiday. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa on the other hand… Is it the particular religious/spiritual underpinnings of each? Or something more universal? Spending time with friends and family? And what about the New Year? Is it looking back on the year that just ended, in order to learn its lessons? Is it celebrating a (fairly arbitrary) fresh start?
Tonight is the fifth night of Hanukkah. The story goes that back in the second century B.C., after the Jews re-conquered the temple in Jerusalem from Greek forces, there was only enough oil to last one night. That oil miraculously burned for eight nights, and that miracle is what Hanukkah is all about.