Last night we talked about the main purpose of the Hanukkah festival. We explained the significance of the first candle. As we light it tonight, we will repeat the word and think for a moment of those things that we discussed last night…the word “Faith.”
And now we light the second candle, which stands for the word “Freedom.”
Freedom – the state of being free – is a big, big word… a word that has guided the destiny of the world. People, since the early days of recorded time, have searched for freedom of many kinds, and there have been many definitions of freedom. We who are American Jews are very fortunate, because we inherit a great tradition of freedom, not only from our religious roots as Jews, but from our political and national history as Americans.
We are blessed to have in our combined history names such as Moses and the Maccabees, Washington and Lincoln.
Freedom, however, is a fire that needs constant tending. We cannot keep a fire going without adding fuel to keep it bright and strong. Freedom cannot flourish unless we bring to it constantly the fuel of our strength and of our determination to keep free.
We must bear in mind constantly all the people who came before us, who gave us the benefit of living as free people. We must never let them down. We must remember that freedom is not something that we should selfishly cherish just for ourselves. We must be willing to help all people all over the world to be free.
As we stand here tonight and look at the two candles of Faith and Freedom burning together; we know how closely related they are to each other and how much brighter the candle of Faith seems to burn with Freedom beside it. With the two candles aflame, this room is brighter.
I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Exodus 20:2)