Today is February 23, 2018 -
The Talmud records a discussion between the House of Hillel and the House of Shamai as to the number of candles to be lit each night of Chanukah. Shamai said that we should start with eight candles on the first night and work our way down to one candle on the eighth night. Hillel said the opposite, we should start with one candle on the first night and add one each night until we light all eight candles on the last night. Jewish law is according to the House of Hillel, with the rationale that the increasing number of candles can be compared with the concept of continually increasing in holiness.
I love this Chanukah message. What we did yesterday was good, and important, and for a holy purpose, but what more can we do today? At Federation our holy mission involves tikkun olam–repairing the world. Until the world is whole, and all Jews are safe, free, fed, and living in peace, we need to continue to increase our commitment, our participation, and our involvement. Lighting one candle yesterday was good, but today, our obligation is greater.
On Tuesday evening, we light the first candle. May our collective lights inspire us to continuously increase our holiness. Happy Chanukah!