WALKING through Mell Square you may wonder about the significance of the eight branched light fitment perched on a parapet opposite Marks & Spencers.
It is a replica of the menorah traditionally lit by Jews throughout the world every night of the Festival of Chanukah (this year December 9-15).
There is a discussion among ancient Jewish authorities as to how the menorah is kindled and the common practice is to light one candle on the first night adding another light progressively each night till the eighth.
It always makes me wonder when I walk through a supermarket and find that the laundry detergent, shampoo, shower gel and even the kitchen towels that I have been using for years are now ‘new and improved’.
If they were fine for the last four decades, why do they need to be ‘new and improved’? And, even scarier, what was ‘wrong’ with the products that I have been using in various stages of my life, that I ought to now begin to worry over?!
And then, as if sent from God to help me with my ‘paranoia’, comes Chanukah.
So, even though on night one, by lighting one candle, we have ‘raised the roof’ on our Chanukah observance, when it comes to night two, yesterday’s ‘top of the line’ just won’t cut it. As good as last night was, tonight must be ‘new and improved’!
And as good as tonight might be, tomorrow must be even better.
This is a fascinating thought when taking stock in what we have accomplished, and what still lies ahead.
We often feel like we have ‘done enough’. We’re ‘tired’, and we are satisfied with our body of work. And, in most cases, we are well within our rights to take pride in our achievements.
Yet, the Chanukah lights, like my favorite bottle of shampoo, insist that yesterdays ‘peak’ must be today’s ‘jumping off point’. And that nothing less than a constantly upward climb, where every moment brings a leap to greater heights than the one preceding it, is considered ‘living’.
Rabbi Yehuda Pink MSc
Solihull & District Hebrew Congregation