“Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev asks why Hanukkah is considered the holiday of miracles, rather than Passover, when the military victory of the Maccabees and even the miracle of the lights in no way compare to the grandeur of the parting of the Red Sea. Why? Because the miracle of Hanukkah is that we don’t wait for God to make miracles happen for us, we take responsibility and act to make manifest our dreams now. In that sense, the real miracle of Hanukkah is human beings becoming agents of the Divine in the world. Hanukkah is about knowing that things can be better and then fighting to turn our dreams into reality.
Rava says that the fourth question we are asked to determine if our lives were lived fully and meaningfully is tzipita l’yishua – did you expect redemption? In other words, did you live mired in reality, or did you believe in the possibility of something better? Did you respond to life with despair or hope? The Jewish consciousness is built on the foundation that each of us is obligated to respond to life’s inadequacies with hope – with the knowledge that everything can be different than it is. Tonight, as we light, let’s affirm the central element of our humanness — the ability to dream and the hutzpah to expect that our dreams will, eventually, become real.”
-Rabbi Sharon Brous