The ability to create a miracle is always in our hands. Sometimes it is as easy as lighting a candle.
Of all the cosmic openings throughout the year, Chanukah is the simplest. During Pesach we refrain from eating certain foods, and prior to Rosh Hashanah we engage in deep introspection in our effort towards transformation. On Chanukah, the Light is already there. All we need to do is ignite it.
The kabbalists teach that Chanukah contains a unique energy. That energy is the Or HaGanuz, "the hidden light," which permeated the world in the first 36 hours after Creation (before the sin of Adam). Within the Or HaGanuz is total completion, fulfillment, pure and everlasting goodness and love -- the primordial force of all life. Each year on these eight days, the Or HaGanuz is available and accessible for all of humanity to draw from its wellspring.
As the story of Chanukah is told, a small band of people, the Maccabees, defeated an army of 40,000. The numbers in this story might seems like an impossibility. Yet, we know with the Light, all things become possible. It was the Or HaGanuz that enabled the Maccabees to create a miracle, and thus preserve their spiritual essence and way of life. The kabbalists teach that the same Or HaGanuz that was available to the Maccabees has been part of the cosmic design since the dawn of mankind, and as such it is available during these 8 days and nights for us too, assisting us to overcome even those obstacles which might seem insurmountable. Through the Light of Chanukah, we strengthen our spirituality to benefit ourselves, our friends and family, our communities, and the world.
As Rav Berg would say, “Knowledge is the connection.” The secret to our receiving the Light of Chanukah lies in our awareness and appreciation of it, as well as in the candles of the Chanukiah, the candelabra. For on the final night, we will have lit 36 candles, representing the light of the 36 righteous souls which keep the world in balance at any given time. These 36 souls are the pilot from which the harmony and protection for all humanity is ignited. And, like the Or HaGanuz, they too are concealed. Most often as ordinary people living ordinary lives, doing the simplest jobs, like Rav Berg's teacher, Rav Brandwein, who was a bricklayer.
I mention these souls because each one of us has a righteous soul that can be ignited at Chanukah. We all have the capacity to grow towards the Light, and that in itself is perhaps the greatest miracle of all. Through our ability to be kind, to resist judgment, to purify our thoughts, and to see the good in ourselves and others, we unite the upper and lower worlds, and reveal that Or HaGanuz not only for these days, but so that it will carry us through the year to come.
As we begin lighting the candles of Chanukah this Saturday night, may we gain the energy to shine our own Light brighter, becoming ever more cognizant of the miraculous nature of our own existence.