Good things, bad things happen.
News dissolves our vision of the world.
Not say what’s lost doesn’t make us ache
or strip our days of reds so vibrant
we forget what we were thinking.
But whatever is lost also brings us to this window
composed of the lush darkness, the rush
of wind or rain through the leaves,
the sudden chill dissolving the hot
anger or anguish, the pain of the questions that,
left unanswered, might divide us.
The music of the old house outlives the house.
We will make new murals out of the ruins,
mosaics from all that’s broken, stone soup
at the center of our next feast.
Nothing in this world vanishes.
Even ghosts, loved enough, turn into angels.
The dark shows us what calls
not at the edge of what we sense
but from the center of where we live. […]
I’m fond of the poem because it encapsulates one of the central messages of this holiday season: that no matter how bleak, cold, and dark our winter might be…that we Jews passionately believe that every single human being carries within themselves a spark of holy light…And that no matter how small that spark or flame is….that it is potent enough to miraculously ignite…on and on and on.
According to legend, this was true during the existential winter of the Maccabees. As Rabbi Arthur Waskow writes: “The single bottle of oil symbolized the last irreducible minimum of spiritual light and creativity within the Jewish people – still there even in its worst moments of apathy and idolatry. The ability of that single jar of oil to stay lit for eight days symbolized how with God’s help that tiny amount could unfold into an infinite supply of spiritual riches. Infinite, because the eighth day stood for infinity. Since the whole universe was created in seven days, eight is a symbol of eternity and infinity.”
But we know that this lesson of the transformative power of light was not limited to ancient times. Indeed, this is precisely the reason that we sing the second blessing over the lighting of the menorah: a text whose words remind us that the miracle did not just happen bayameem ha’heim – in the days of the Maccabees… but also bazman ha’zeh – that it is rekindled in every generation, including “in this time” in our day.
Thus Rabbi Michael Strassfeld writes that: “By lighting the menorah, we ignite the flame in our souls, the sparks that cannot be extinguished, that will not burn for eight days but for eternity. […] The menorah reminds us of the miracle that no matter how dark life may be, there remains a source of light deep inside us. The light in our souls reflects and refracts the light from the One who is all brightness.”
And so we give thanks on this sixth night of Hanukkah….for the miraculous ability for light to pierce darkness…for the gift of faith and hope that enables us to find the light within…and for the gift of community that enables us to share light with one another. May we all go from strength to strength, like the Maccabees of old, that we might find our own inner light, and kindle it in the lives of others.
Keyn Yhi Ratzon – May this be God’s will.
 Full text of the poem can be found at http://carynmirriamgoldberg.com/2011/06/16/seeing-in-the-dark-poem-everyday-magic-days-350-351/.
 Arthur Waskow, Seasons of Our Joy, pp. 91-92.
 Michael Strassfeld, A Book of Life, p. 286 (quoting The Jewish Catalog p. 177).