Light up your holiday with Judaism

  • ParshaKievemanShemos
The end of the year is upon us; and it’s finally time for a break. Relaxation from school lifts, appointments, and traffic. Maybe even some time off work. Whether you are going to Romania or going to “remain here”, I hope you will get some diversion from your daily routine.
by Rabbi Ari KIevman, Kirsh Goodness and Kindness Centre | Dec 12, 2019

When I first arrived in this country in 2002, acclimatising to the local vernacular was fun. By now, I’m comfortable with South Africanisms like “braai”, “eish” and “robot”. A particular favourite of mine, besides “lekker” is “going on holiday”, whereas I previously used to say “vacation”.

The truth is in the words. I appreciate the idea of holiday much more than a vacation because the former implies a hallowed upliftment, whereas the latter indicates a state of emptiness, escaping life’s responsibilities.

So, for the next few weeks, I hope you enjoy a good quality holiday. Without the burden of work, we can relax and reflect on our greater mission and purpose of existence beyond the immediate visors of the daily job. We can make a commitment to spend quality time with family and friends, the luxury car of unrushed prayer, the chance to invest in more Torah study.

During this interlude in the year, free from some of the conventional pressures, bonding with our children is a priority. In doing so, recognise the opportunity for Judaism to transcend the limits of being a “subject” or “lesson”, and become the joyful reality of identifying as a Jew and living a Jewish life.

Travel time can be filled with meaningful family discussions, Jewish themed family games, or a great Jewish story around the bonfire in which the lines between fun and study become blurred and the message of Judaism is most absorbed. You can download many amazing audio and video Torah classes and fun kids games on chabadsouthafrica.org, for never a dull spiritual moment.

Make sure to pack Chanukah supplies. Gather with your family each night to light the menorah. Go to communal menorah lightings, here in Joburg or wherever you’ll be, bringing the light of Judaism to every corner of the globe.

In current Torah portions, we read of our great ancestors, the forbearers of Judaism. In spite of their struggles and hardships, they remained steadfast, exemplifying the ever-enduring quality of the Jewish soul, the spark within each of us that not only can never be extinguished, but, like the menorah candles, can actually ignite the souls of others. We should do that every day of the year, but Chanukah serves as an annual reminder that we have been tasked with keeping the world illuminated.

The message of Chanukah is to spread light. Wherever you are, by kindling the menorah, you illuminate the world. You can also spread the light in cyberspace. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, raise awareness of the pirsumei nisa, publicising G-d’s immanent presence and constant miracles, then and now.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday, and a lekker Chanukah wherever your travels take you!

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