Fire is often a problem during Chanukah, with many people being sloppy about how they light their menorahs, how close they put them to each other and even within reach of children. I am a nervous nellie with any kind of fire–I only light two candles for Shabbat because it is enough.
I have been thinking about how the oil of the Chanukah miracle actually teaches us something very important about the world. The miracle only worked as a bridge, from the need of the oil for relighting the menorah to the time that they could manufacture new oil. And that was enough. It didn’t last forever. I know that the Maharal makes a very big deal out of the number 8 being beyond nature, even though nature doesn’t naturally have the number 7 in it, does it? G-d choosing the week to be 7 days is G-d’s choice, not describing anything else except that phenomenon. So the Maharal and the kabbalists can go to town with the number, but at some point we can all say enough. I know now I’m mixing holiday metaphors, but here is a value we must acknowledge–we need to know when to stop.
We are particularly vulnerable to this tendency here in the west. More is always better. But here is a case, the holiday of Chanukah, when we build up one light at a time. We could just as well light all 8 each night, (a different version than the Hillel/Shammai debate) but we don’t. Enough.
So how ironic in the worst way is the desperate fight going on right now in Israel with the horrific forest fires burning now in the north of Israel. A little fire has turned into a disaster. And on top of that, Israel is asking Greece, among other countries, to help fight this fire. I pray that politics can be put aside for the sake of humanity. I don’t hold much hope for Turkey or other Arabs neighbors, even though Israel always runs to help them and anyone else who needs humanitarian relief.
Right now is not the time to blame anyone, although it really does look like it was arson, since there were 3 separate fires set at the same time in different locations, but it is the time to act. What can we do here? I am sending a donation through JNF . Here is a link to their site for their forest fire campaign. I just got an email with a link to a different organization for donations. Maybe more is better here.
And, I guess, we better double-up on our prayers for rain for Israel, too.