By: Gabriel Cojuc, Rosh Chinuch Hanoar Hatzioni b’México
Al HaNisim ve’al HaNiflaot is a verse that we sing while lighting the Hanukkah candles. It represents certain values of this chag, especially two essential ones—miracles and wonders.
Miracles, extraordinary events that happened in Hanukkah and are inexplicable by the laws of nature and the universe, include the cruse of oil that lasted for eight days and the victory of the Hashmonaim against the Seleucids, though the Hashmonaim had considerably fewer people. Humans tend to expect miracles at the most complicated moments when circumstances seem insurmountable. However, having this expectation is not necessary; the human being has the ability to overcome any situation, no matter how unfavorable it may be. Being resilient entails the discovery of the reasons that urge us to keep moving forward.
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. That is to say, the human being has the need to believe in something, of having principles to guide him/her through life, to help him/her make decisions and face the challenges that life may impose. Nowadays, finding this set of values and beliefs becomes more complicated due to the number of distractions and trivialities to which we sometimes give greater importance than the values of our own lives. Therefore, when faced with the challenges that life presents, we tend to expect a miracle instead of fighting for our aspirations and ideals.
The ability to be amazed, the second concept of the verse that we sing in Hanukkah, gets increasingly difficult to reach. Amazement is a basic characteristic of the human being, which not only breaks the routine but also encourages reflection and internalization of experiences. The role that Hanoar Hatzioni embraces in light of this reality that threatens the youth is the formation of an ideological identity, which looks after personal interests
and global needs and is linked directly to Judaism. The tnua encourages its chaverim to develop within a framework that allows them to understand the importance of every aspect of their lives and the search of the “why” in their thoughts and actions, with emphasis on “learning through chavaia (experience) and experimentation” (Darkenu p.
Hanukkah, the holiday of pride, sovereignty and Jewish independence, reminds us year after year that we are a part of a people of millenary tradition, with a historical memory that binds us and makes us proud and responsible for its legacy and continuity through an active Jewish awareness.
Therefore, in this chag of “miracles and wonders”, we must not forget that the action of keeping the flame of Judaism alive, within both us and our communities, is much more than a miracle.
I wish all the chaverim of the tnua that, during this Hanukkah, we continue our tireless work of educating the future generation, so that we can be the creators of miracles and wonders that will make this world a better place.