Keeping Hope Alive

Keeping Hope Alive

Rabbinic Intern’s Message – December 15, 2020

Rabbinic Intern Grant Halasz

The Hanukkah season is one that has many different lessons. The gift of giving, looking for the light in dark times, the pride of celebrating who we are, and many more. But I think that one of the most valuable, is the lesson of resilience. Especially in a time where we feel like we are only reacting to the ever changing world around us, we must stay strong and keep our heads held high, knowing that there is going to be a sense of normalcy in the world again. Though we may not know when, it will come. 

When thinking about the resilience of the Jewish people the song “When You Believe” by Stephen Schwartz comes to mind. Like most of us, I was first introduced to the song in the animated movie “The Prince of Egypt” where it was sung by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.  The movie tells the story of our exodus from Egypt, and we hear the song as all of the Jewish slaves in Egypt are fleeing and following Moses toward the Red Sea, and escaping to their freedom. In the song, they talk about how we must keep hope alive, especially in times when it is tested most. 

Like the song says:

In this time of fear
When prayer so often proves in vain
Hope seems like the summer birds
Too swiftly flown away
Yet now I’m standing here
My hearts so full, I can’t explain… 
There can be miracles

When you believe (when you believe)
Though hope is frail
Its hard to kill…
They [miracles] don’t always happen when you ask
And it’s easy to give in to your fears
But when you’re blinded by your pain
Can’t see your way clear through the rain
A small but still, resilient voice
Says hope is very near, oh (oh)

I think that these words describe mindset that a lot of us may be having in our lives at this time. Prayer and belief may seem like it’s fleeting, but we must remember that solutions may not happen exactly when you ask, nor will they happen over night. There must be that small resilient voice that helps us know that we cannot lose hope. As we see in the song, hope may be frail at times, but it is hard to kill. I would argue that it is near impossible to kill. Use this Hanukkah season to keep hope alive, better yet, keep it healthy and thriving. Let the candles that we light every night be a literal symbol of the light at the end of this crazy tunnel that we call the world in 2020. 

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