HANNUKAH 2011/5772, fourth night
On the seventh day God rested from the work of Creation for it was complete enough to engage us, the human family, to be Divine partners throughout time in maintaining and perfecting the world.
These words (or something very similar) are what I say to introduce kiddush every Shabbat eve during t'filah. As we are ready to recite the blessing over wine, with which we recognize the sanctity ascribed to Shabbat, we are reminded of the great gift represented by this day, and our responsibility to lead the way in improving the world.
And there's something extra special about the Shabbat during Hanukkah: with the warm, fun, light-hearted nature of the Festival of Lights, the gathering of family and friends, and especially the overlap of joyous Shabbat and Hanukkah melodies - it is certainly among the most enjoyable Shabbatot of any given year. We read parashat miketz in the Torah, which includes Pharaoh's dreams and Joseph's interpretations about years of famine and plenty - amplifying the Jewish encouragement to dream big, as well as to plan ahead to take care of our needs and the needs of our loved ones and community. If there is anything that the intended rest on Shabbat is meant to teach us, it is surely this theme.
The 4th night of Hanukkah will soon be upon us. As we kindle our chanukiot, half-way through the holiday - may we truly know on this seventh day shavat vayinafash - a day of refreshment and renewal...SHABBAT SHALOM!