Finding Light amidst the Darkness: Chanukah 2020
The holiday season commonly instills an overwhelming sense of togetherness, love, gratitude, and comfort. It’s a time to celebrate with family and friends, relax a little, and enjoy the brisk air and delicious seasonal food. This year, everything has changed. Although time is still passing as usual and life still carries on, this year’s holidays are looking a lot different:
Kissing and hugging is no longer a casual embrace but instead requires incredible planning to avoid risk of exposure. Families are lighting candles, playing dreidel, and celebrating virtually instead of in-person.
People are struggling to connect with one another, stay healthy, and take care of themselves. The world we once knew is now a memory. What is our new “normal?”
“Chanukah” literally translates to “dedication,” representing the historic rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees. This theme of dedication is especially poignant during this pandemic: We are witnessing first responders’ dedication to keep the community safe, the dedication our farmers have for growing sustainable, organic food, and the dedication our teachers have to their students as they adapt to virtual and hybrid learning. Dedication can also look like finishing your favorite book, baking the perfect banana bread, or taking more time to practice self-care.
Among Chanukah’s most familiar and valuable lessons is choosing to find light in the darkness. Indeed, the Maccabees woke to the miracle of the oil still burning for eight days despite expectations that it would only last for one. Their dedication to re-claim the Temple was rewarded with an unexpected “Great Miracle.”
We are still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic which has caused immeasurable loss and sadness to a huge number of people across the globe. Every day miracles seem few and far between.
As Chanukah 2020 comes to a close, may we choose to see light even (or especially) among the year’s darkness. If we learn anything from the Chanukah story this year, may it be that even the smallest wins are worth celebrating. May we celebrate each seed that sprouts and every flower that blooms. Indeed, Jewish history is a story of perseverance, and our traditions and stories teach us there are better times on the horizon.
Among Jewish communities, Chanukah can be a way to bring light into each other’s lives and to remember nothing is impossible. The Maccabees’ decision to light the initial candle was rooted in faith that they would get what they need. May we share their hope for the future and trust that things will work out. Perhaps a little hope and dedication will open our eyes to the small miracles happening every day.
This may be the only time in our lives during which everyone around the world is experiencing the same thing at the same time. Although the effects of the pandemic are affecting people at varying degrees (and indeed already marginalized communities are bearing the highest burden), we will only see light emerging if we work together, slow down, stay home, and stay safe. Join us as we celebrate the small victories and smiles, and look forward to the future with us as we navigate this unprecedented time in our lives, as a community.
Happy Chanukah from the Coastal Roots Farm team! We wish you a happy and safe celebration and better days ahead.
Written by Allie Mandel, Marketing and Outreach Associate at Coastal Roots Farm