by Dore Schary
Tonight we light our eighth and final candle. We complete the pool of light. First, we light our seven candles of Faith, Freedom, Courage, Love, Charity, Integrity, and Knowledge. And now we light the eighth candle, without which all else is meaningless – we light the candle of “Peace.” With Peace, we see that the pool of light is large and complete and full.
We must remind ourselves now that the celebration of Hanukkah is a celebration not of war, but a celebration of peace.
While we celebrate the struggles of the Maccabees, in reality, we celebrate the peace that their victories earned us. When we look back at all periods of war in our history as Jews and Americans, certainly we may draw comfort from the magnificent, heroic acts and sacrifices of our fighting men and women, but we are happy because of the greater gift their victories bring – the gift of peace.
Man has sought peace since the beginning of time – the peace of his body, the peace of his mind. But along with that search for peace, has come the problem of peace at what price.
We speak of a peace in which all nations live in equality and dignity; a peace in which no one is ashamed to say what he thinks or what he believes; wherein children grow up unafraid of bombs and guns; wherein we have learned to live with each other and with respect for what others think and cherish; wherein people can be born and live and pass on, with freedom from want, freedom from war, and freedom from fear.
Let us pray that each day we can freshen our faith and reunite, next year, around this candle that it may bring a brighter and stronger light of faith to all the peoples of all the world.
We can rededicate ourselves now to all these principles which we have discussed during the holiday. Let us now repeat these principles, these hopeful words. Let us now pray to God that we be blessed with them.
The first, FAITH; the second, FREEDOM; the third, COURAGE; the fourth, LOVE; the fifth, CHARITY; the sixth, INTEGRITY; the seventh, KNOWLEDGE; the eighth, PEACE.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord cause His countenance to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and grant you peace! Hear, 0’ Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Amen.