Chanukah is a holiday with both a rich historical and spiritual perspective. It is important to understand the distinction, however, so that a practitioner can find on-going meaning and a clear purpose for connecting to the holiday each year for personal growth and empowerment. The tradition of Chanukah is based upon two miracles that occurred thousands of years ago. First, a small army led by Judah the Maccabee (the Hammer) defeated the larger and mightier Greek army following the uprising against forced assimilation and the attempted destruction of Jewish law, culture and the Holy Temple. The second miracle is based on the story of a vial of undefiled oil, which was found in the Temple at the time of rededication and which burned for 8 days from the 25th of Kislev to the 2nd of Tevet. The amount of oil would have ordinarily lasted 1 day. These two events are miracles in their own right, but if we view them merely as historical events that we commemorate by the lighting of a Chanukah menorah, we miss the deeper message and secret to the holiday.
The ancient mystics and modern day Kabbalists all agree that the 8-day period of time during the Chanukah holiday is when the spiritual energy of miracles is released into the universe. By understanding this, we can access and harness the energy for use in our lives. A miracle is defined as something “beyond nature”. If we can go beyond our own nature and disconnect from the “self” – we can access the realm of miracles during this time. The simplest way to achieve this is by transforming our “desire to receive for the self alone” (i.e. I want something for me) to the “desire to receive in order to share" (i.e. I want something so that I can share it). It is a subtle, but important change of consciousness. There is an abundance of “Light” available for us during the eight days of Chanukah and we simply have to light the menorah to access it. There are no lengthy prayers or Temple services – just lighting the menorah with the proper consciousness to connect to the realm of miracles. As opposed to Chanukah being the cause and the reason we celebrate the miracle, Chanukah is an effect - resulting from the cosmos being infused with the energy of miracles at this time – both thousands of years ago and today. By lighting the menorah during the holiday and having the proper consciousness, we can draw down the Light and manifest miracles in our lives.
One of the customs for the holiday is to “publicize the miracle”, typically done by lighting the menorah in your window or a public place for others to see. This year think about publicizing the miracle, not only as a historical event, but also as a time when people from around the world with the consciousness of sharing and "going above their nature" can access and create miracles in their lives.