Next week on Tuesday, December 16th those of the Jewish faith will begin the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. During this time, a menorah plays a central role in the family’s traditions. Originally a 7-armed lampstand of pure gold, which was found in the temple, the modern representation is a candelabra holding 9 candles. One candle is added to the menorah each night, with an accompanying prayer.
Part of the menorah’s teaching is a reminder to bring out the Divine light in our selves and others. Its structure also speaks to “branching out” with good deeds and illuminating the world around us.
Another symbol closely associated with those of the Jewish faith is the Star of David. It holds a place of honor on Israel’s flag, but it has not always been a part of Jewish identity. During the Middle Ages, the Star of David was connected to a variety of Christian ceremonies. The Nazis, during WWII, used a yellow Star of David to mark those of Jewish descent-but that dark connotation shifted dramatically when Israel was established in 1948. It became a show of collective pride and a symbol of hope.
With the Star of David’s dramatic shift from a symbol meant to shame and humiliate, to a symbol bringing hope and unity to Israel, it can join the menorah as a reminder to recognize the Divine light in each of us. The eight-day celebration of the Festival of Lights will be a great time to reflect on the symbolism of the menorah and Star of David. Perhaps, these symbols and their message of Divine light can inspire us to focus on and bring out the Divine light that we each possess-and maybe be more open to seeing it in others. With increased understanding we will be able magnify and nurture our Divine Light through acts of service, especially for those who seem to have lost their way. I think an important attribute of iSissies is to share what we have been given-we can do that by illuminating the path of another sissy for a season while they search for the light within.