12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Salvation Month    

Salvation Month

This week marks the new month of Kislev. We are all under the underlying tension of the Iranian threat – will there be a war or not?



This week marks the new month of Kislev. We are all under the underlying tension of the Iranian threat – will there be a war or not? What's more, it looks like Israel, as usual, has only Hashem to depend on. At any rate, that's the good news. Kislev is a great month for the Jewish people. Why? The light of Chanuka awaits us.
One candle is enough to illuminate the pitch-black darkness. King Solomon compared the candle to the human soul. Thus, the Chanuka candles can teach us a lot about our inner selves.
Despair and depression are darkness. Judaism - particularly the Chanuka holiday - teaches that there is no room for despair and depression in the Jewish lexicon, no matter who threatens us with atomic weapons or with anything else. There's always hope. The Gemara teaches that even if a sharp knife is resting on your throat, don't despair - trust in Hashem's magnificent and merciful lovingkindness.
The Yetzer Hora, or Evil Inclination, wants us to lose hope. He doesn't want you to believe that redemption can be right now, at any minute, and that Moshiach is right around the corner. By convincing you that the Jewish notion of eagerly anticipating the Geula is false and ridiculous, he eventually convinces you that all of Torah is false and ridiculous, G-d forbid.
On the contrary, when a doctor tells an expectant mother that she must abort, that's false and ridiculous. When a person is told that he or she has a terminal disease, that's false and ridiculous.
The light of a Chanuka candle - which the holy Ariza’l says is symbolic of emuna, or faith - carries a person above the clutches of nature. Torah, Teshuva, and prayer do the same. A soldier can be pinned down, with no logical way out; yet, Hashem has solutions. Never despair, or the ballgame's over. Put your gin and tonic down, and pick up a Book of Psalms. Let the light of King David's eternal and universal words light up your soul.
Many of us are scarred from life in this cold and empty world, where few care about nothing other than a greenback or their next cheap thrill. Yet, if a wounded soldier stops shooting, he's finished; if he transfers his rifle from his wounded right arm to his healthy left arm, he can continue fighting and ultimately triumph.
Be happy! Put your favorite Chassidic CD in the stereo and dance a kazatzke with your family. It’s great exercise – heimishe aerobics – and it will put a smile on your face. Eat some latkes and play draidel with your children. Don't succumb to depression; depression won't put money in the bank - faith in Hashem will! Let Chanuka brighten your life.
Don't be discouraged by anything. Remember that Hashem runs the world and that He’s doing everything for the very best and for a good reason. It’s of no consequence whether or not we understand what our beloved Father in Heaven is doing or how He’s running the world.
Chin up, chabibi! If you don't surrender to the Yetzer, you might be the person that changes the world, like Yehudit the daughter of Matatyahu did. Light your candles and ponder them; open up your soul to Hashem's light. Once you really do, you'll be healthy and happy, and you won't need the shrink or his nasty little pills any more.
Our sages teach that as long as the candle is burning, there's always hope. Never despair, no matter what your seemingly insurmountable problem is. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that everything could turn itself around completely for the better in the nearest future. Just like the few Maccabees who remained faithful to Hashem and to His Torah, we might be outnumbered by a massive enemy too. But, if we learn from those little flickering Chanuka candles that we'll be lighting at the end of the month, G-d willing, we'll defeat the darkness and be winners too. Jews are used to being the underdogs - we thrive on come-from-behind and against-all-odds victories and watching the tyrants of the world crumble. Do you hear that, Achmedinejad?
The Jewish people are sometimes down, but never out. The tiny flames of Chanuka always lift us out of the dark abyss.
Don't despair. Don't ever lose faith. Salvation is on the way, for sure.

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