The Second Flame: The Miraculous in the Common

It is raining. You might think it is not a big deal but in Israel when the Heavens open up  and it pours, we sense a palpable sigh of relief as the air cools and rain drenches the country. After a drought, the water evokes a deep sense of gratitude.

What is the definition of a miracle? Are we awestruck when it rains?

When do we sense the hand of G-d?

Most of us experience a “Wow” moment when we witness the supernatural. Those  moments are rare.

When was the last time the sea split or the sun stood still?

Where are the miracles today?

Chanukah provides the answer. In the blessings for kindling the lights, we thank G-d for the miracles in our time. The Sages refer to the hidden miracles we experience every day.

In truth, the holiday should only be seven days. After all, the Maccabees found enough oil for one day. The miracle was seven days.

While we celebrate seven days of the holiday to commemorate the supernatural miracle of the oil, the eighth day represents our awareness of the miraculous in the common. Oil burning, a usual occurrence from our perspective, should not be taken for granted. Even the “laws” of nature are the product of G-d’s daily providence in the world.

When we wake up in the morning, we thank G-d for bringing us back to life. Imagine the appreciation of a person recovered from a kidney stone who recites the blessing of “Asher Yatzar,” praising the Almighty for a body functioning perfectly. Every day we thank G-d for the daily miracles that sustain us.

The second flame signifies the message of Chanukah to develop gratitude for the renewal of the world each and every day.

What are you thankful for today?

Express your feelings of appreciation to a loved one. Write down two concrete actions you can take after Chanukah to ensure the miracles of today illuminate your life beyond the holiday.

Keep the flame alive!

With blessing for a Happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Daniel Cohen

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