April 13, 2024
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Keeping the Flame Alive for Terror Victims This Chanukah

We begin kindling the Chanukah candles on Sunday night. This year, in a spirit of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel, we suggest keeping in mind those Jews taken from us by acts of terror.

Let your vision of each flame transcend the candle and wick as it illuminates an otherwise dark background.

Those murdered by terrorists in Israel gave their own special light to their family, friends and klal Yisrael. Their lives, sadly, were snuffed out too soon.

In Israel, the organization “Lifting the Flag” is asking that Israelis participate in public candle lightings at various sites of terrorist attacks. So, wherever it is that your match lights the shamash this upcoming Chanukah, we ask that you remember those victims who should be preparing for the holiday like the rest of us. They should be lighting candles, playing dreidel with the children and filling up on latkes and sufganiyot.

Eitam and Na’ama Henkin should have been lighting candles with their children this year. Rabbi Yaakov and his son Netanel Litman should have danced at their daughter and sister Sarah’s wedding last week. No doubt the sheva brachot would have been a great lead-in to the Festival of Lights. Ezra Schwartz, the 18-year-old American yeshiva student, taken from us two weeks ago, was the living embodiment of our young idea; a person doing mitzvot, learning Torah and bringing his special light into this world. And there are so many others, many whose names are etched on our hearts and minds. Don’t forgot Naftali, Gilad and Eyal, Rav Twersky and the victims of the Har Nof attack, and so many others whom we have lost.

They are not with us anymore. Let’s keep them in our minds, as if they are yotzei, as we feel the warmth and see the glow of the nerot. Maybe keep a victim’s name in your thoughts, and light the candles as if he or she were with you.

“In every place a Palestinian terrorist tried to destroy life, tried to extinguish the light of Israel, together we will light the eternal hannukiah of our people,” writes the Lifting the Flag organization on the Arutz Sheva website. “We will gather for the mass lighting in every place and we will raise the banner of Jewish heroism.”

So if we can’t be in Israel this Chanukah, we can at least keep the memories of cherished lost ones alive with the lighting of each Chanukah candle.

From our families to yours: May the lights of Chanukah banish the darkness, now and always.

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