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Shine Your Light
Mom with a View

Shine Your Light

Every person has their unique light to bring forth to the world.


It's the week before Hanukkah and I'm in Jerusalem. On every corner is a bakery selling sufganiyot (or doughnuts for the uninitiated!). Not content with the standard jelly variety, there is chocolate and custard and caramel and vanilla and white chocolate, and on and on. They look beautiful and smell delicious.

And every day I'm tempted. Every day I make a plan to eat one and then decide I can survive another 24 hours without a doughnut or that I can wait until I return to Los Angeles, where, although it's certainly not Jerusalem, they still have good doughnuts! Even my children are recommending the best doughnuts to get (the caramel ones at Uri's Pizza perhaps?). I'm becoming obsessed.

And yet, while I certainly enjoy a good doughnut (and wish I didn't!) I definitely don't want to lose my focus on the real point of the holiday. Much has been written about the idea that we publicize the miracle by placing our menorahs in our windows; yes, Hanukkah truly is the holiday of Jewish pride.

But Hanukkah is many more things as well. This year I'm thinking about my internal light, the light of my soul and how to make it truly shine. My inbox is filled with pre-Xmas sales which, if I indulge, will certainly add more bling to my exterior. But what about my inner self? Am I allowing that part of me to develop and shed its light? Or am I too afraid or too insecure? Do I really believe that I have a unique light to offer the world?

One of the most important messages of the holiday is an affirmative answer to that question. Yes, we all have a unique and special light that is ours to polish and brighten and shine upon our family and friends and society.

The fact that each of the lights needs to be the same height teaches that no one human being's light is better than another's. And that it's not a competition. We all have our own potential to realize, our own goals to achieve, our own light to shine.

This is always true but Hanukkah is a good reminder and an opportunity to rededicate (no pun intended) ourselves to this goal. It is also a good time to teach this lesson to our children. We are not comparing them with their siblings or classmates. We value them for their special soul and we want to teach them to bright their light forth.

To this end, it might be helpful after the lighting one night to play a game. Let's call it "What's my light?" Everyone in the family can go around the room and say one thing they learn from another member. This will remind each of us or our unique contributions to our family and our world and will help us build this trait to its full strength.

Hanukkah is a time of miracles – particularly for the Jewish people. But we don't want to lose sight of the greatest miracle of all – the gift of life that the Almighty has given us and the ability to achieve our full and true potential.

Now, where are those white chocolate doughnuts again?

December 18, 2016

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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Eric Wood, December 26, 2016 2:53 PM

Hanukkah, new knowledge for me.

I have to resist the doughnuts too! No I do not keep Christmas a much commercialized event without the truth it is supposed to depict Hanukkah is new to me and I am appreciating the understanding received since I subscribed to Aish.
Eric Wood

(3) alice jena, December 26, 2016 3:44 AM

your light is quite bright

needed this - thank you

(2) Anonymous, December 23, 2016 11:21 AM

Your light is quite bright

Sheesh, too many rhymes. I will definitely play that game the first night we are all home "alone" together. It's brilliant, thank you. In case you have any doubt that you have a unique light, Mrs Braverman, can I please have the privilege to tell you I'm sure you do. I don't know you personally but in the least you are a rare sober voice to hear a the end of a day, when I want to slightly unwind without completely unbridling my mind to some other bloggers :) you state the obvious when readers might start to forget, and shed a creative whitty light on some otherwise unclear issues. Thanks for setting some social standards, too. I'm so sorry about that recent second desert debacle, I'll never do it again. (No, it wasn't me, but I learned my lesson.). A frelichin chanuka!!

(1) Esther, December 23, 2016 2:31 AM

Very beautiful message thanks

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