For the past few decades, I’ve celebrated Hanukkah. I’ve always thought of Hanukkah as the season for miracles. But it doesn’t feel right to try to take on “miracles” in a blog post at this time. Instead, since the word “Hanukkah” in Hebrew means “dedication,” let’s see what that word could mean for you at this season.
Dedication can mean devotion and loyalty. In the story of Hanukkah, the Jewish people had risen up against their oppressors to reclaim their Temple. They were clearly dedicated to their G-d in that they fought a bigger army against great odds. They were demonstrably loyal and faithful as they fought to be able to practice their own religion, instead of assimilating.
You, like the Jewish people in this story, have been devoted and loyal to your family, friends, and colleagues by keeping physically distant, washing your hands, and wearing a mask. You’ve intentionally made phone calls and sent text messages to make sure others feel loved and valued. You’ve kept a positive attitude at work and showed others grace, all while working harder than ever. That dedication has paid off.
Because of your dedication, your little bit of the Universe is happier and healthier.
Dedication also means something set aside for a particular purpose. After reclaiming the Temple, the story goes, the Jewish people lit the menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum) and dedicated that second temple to G-d. There are other ways to show devotion. You can also dedicate time. For example, you may dedicate an hour each day to listening to classical music, doing yoga, or meditating. You can dedicate money- as in setting a certain amount aside for a trip or a cause you believe in.
Now is a good time to think about what you’d like to dedicate to “future you.” What part of you do you want to set aside time and resources for in the next few years? Your creative self? Spiritual self? Athletic self?
Maybe your creative self could really use some time and energy dedicated to that play you’ve wanted to write since middle school.
Maybe your spiritual self would just love a silent retreat in the woods. Can you dedicate some time to planning that? Can you set aside some money for the actual experience?
Maybe your athletic self wants to run a marathon in another country. Can you dedicate some time to research? How about time and energy for training?
What would you like to dedicate your metaphorical temple to? What means something to you? What are you willing to spend time and energy on in the near future that will make you happy and fulfilled?
Maybe all you need is to dedicate a few hours once a week to a forgotten hobby, learning a new skill, or trying a fun new game like frisbee golf. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, just as long as you set aside the time and energy to do that thing.
Hanukkah is a great reminder to keep going when facing tough obstacles. When you set aside time, energy, and resources for something you believe in, you will continue to light up your little corner of the world.