April 20, 2024
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Rabbi David Bouzaglo, one of the most prolific Moroccan piyutim writers in the 20th century, wrote a piyut about Chanukah named “Am Ne’emanai, My Trusted Nation.”

In this piyut, Rabbi Bouzaglo writes in the chorus, “Hodu Lashem Ki Gavar Chasdo, thank Hashem because his kindness has increased.”

Thinking about the last 10 weeks since the start of the war, makes me think about Hashem’s kindness.

With all the suffering and the loss of innocent lives, the increase of antisemitism and the wish of many that Jews should go “from the river to the sea,” alluding to the annihilation of the Jewish people in the entire world, we have to focus on the miracles Hashem bestowed upon us by saving many from death.

Thinking about Chanukah, we have to realize that logically it did not make sense for the Jews at that time to find pure oil, and even more so that the oil would last for eight days instead of one day. It did not make sense as well, for a little army of men who were not soldiers and were not as well equipped as the Greeks to win the war.

To be honest, it does not make any sense for us to still exist today! After all the different persecutions from the Spanish Inquisition to the Holocaust, how is it possible for us to be around?

The answer is simple: because Hashem promised us that after all the hardships, He will never destroy us.

As we are about to end celebrating Chanukah, let us all pray that Hashem brings an end to the war and that the candles of Chanukah, which we light at the darkest days of the year, shine upon the entire world and shed light on the people who turn a blind eye toward Israel.

May we merit to see the light of Mashiach speedily in our days. Amen.


Rabbi Ilan Acoca is the rabbi of Congregation Bet Yosef of Fort Lee. He is a faculty member of Yeshivat Shalshelet and Moriah School. Rabbi Acoca serves as an executive member of the Rabbinical Council of America, as well as a member of the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County, the Sephardic Metivta and the Habura.

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