BUILDING A BRIDGE TO ISRAEL
ON CHANUKAH WE PLAY WITH THE DREIDEL
But the dreidel is much more than just a simple game for children. Or perhaps simple games for children are much more complex and meaningful than we often think.
In Israel , the sides of the dreidel proclaim “a great miracle happened HERE.” In the Diaspora the four sides form an acronym declaring that “a great miracle happened THERE.” Imagine that where we are in the world, we need the insights found on each of the four sides of the dreidel. We need the insights that flow both from the miracles of Israel and from the miracles of Jewish life in contemporary North America .
Wherever we are, we can all learn the lesson of dreidels from Israel – the immediacy of wonderful things happening around us, the opportunity to create Jewish destiny, and the celebration of that which is closest to us. We can all learn to identify the miraculous events in the “here” of our own lives. That is the gift of dreidels from Israel .
And we can also integrate the wisdom of dreidels in America – the possibility of miraculous events far away; the ability to see the wonder of people, places and things to which we have less direct connection; and the celebration that our sense of community must always be wider than we might at first experience or imagine. That is the gift of Diaspora dreidels.
As you light the candles each night, reflect on the following miracles that make up the fabric of human life in the twenty-first century:
NIGHT ONE. The miracle of unprecedented Jewish power to help create a safer and more ethical world.
NIGHT TWO. The miracle of 350 plus years of Jewish life in America .
NIGHT THREE. The miracle of traveling the length and breadth of modern Israel .
NIGHT FOUR. The miracle of mapping the human genome.
NIGHT FIVE. The miracle of new artistic expression in music and the arts.
NIGHT SIX. The miracle of unparalleled generosity in the face of Hurricane Katrina and devastating fires in Southern California .
NIGHT SEVEN. The miracle of life found everywhere from fertility clinics to our parks and gardens.
NIGHT EIGHT. The miracle of friends and family with whom we share our lives.
A Great Miracle Happened... Here and There
From the dreidel
(from a Message prepared by CLAL, 440 Park Avenue South , New York , NY 10016 , www.clal.org)
Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg