These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

[Alumni Guest Post] Our Deepest Fear by Baruch HaLevi

Posted on December 12, 2012 by The Director of Digital Media

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Baruch HaLevi (Year '96) shares
some Chanukah inspiration with us:

Chanukah might be one of the lesser important Jewish holy days from a halachic (Jewish legal) perspective. However, it is perhaps the most important holiday when it comes to Jewish identity and purpose. It is a timeless and timely message and it comes down to this: deep within each and every one of us there is a Maccabee warrior. No matter what challenge we are facing. No matter how insurmountable the odds might seem, the greatest gift God has given us as human beings is a resilient, unconquerable, warrior spirit. The problem is that we all too easily forget this, we all too often underestimate it. And so often we fail to see ourselves for the powerful beings each and every one of us really are.

After being pounded by the Greeks, after having been stripped of their religious freedoms and dignity so many of the Jewish people simply succumbed to the sheer terror of it all. Although the majority were paralyzed in insecurity, doubt and fear, nonetheless, there was a group of warriors known as the Maccabees who made a stand, rose up and fought back. And as they did they gave others the inspiration and courage to do the same. Thus, a rebellion was begun, the Jewish people lived to fight another day and thousands of years later Am Yisrael Chai – the Jewish people are alive and well.

This spirit is best described by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

There is nothing holy in shrinking back, stifling your voice or hiding your light out of fear as to how it might be seen, perceived or received. Chanukah is a reminder that we have a God given gift and duty to ignite our menorah, place it in the window for all to see as we unabashedly illuminate the path for those in our midst.

Happy Chanukah