Our rabbis taught: “On the twenty-fifth of Kislev (begin) the eight days of Hanukkah, on which lamentation for the dead and fasting are forbidden. For when the Greeks entered the Temple, they defiled all the oils in it, and when the Hasmonean dynasty prevailed over them and defeated them, they searched and found only one bottle of oil sealed by the High Priest. It contained only enough for one day’s lighting. Yet a miracle was brought about with it, and they lit (with that oil) for eight days…” (Talmud Shabbat 21b)
One essential teaching of this famous Talmudic passage is, quite simply, that a little bit can go a long way. Just a little light can keep us going through the darkest season, a little courage can inspire us to stand up to the greatest injustice, and little strength can sustain us even when all feels lost.
On this Shabbat Hanukkah, may we all be blessed with the miracle of spiritual sustainability…
So was Shammai trying to reduce his carbon footprint? He was the rabbi who wanted to add one *fewer* candle every night, right?