Rebuilding Series: A Window to the Soul. By Marshall Lestz
Good Morning Everybody and Happy Chanukah!
There’s a Jewish law that prohibits us from looking into the windows of other peoples’ homes. It’s an invasion of privacy. Their business is their business. Their possessions are their possessions. And what they’re doing and who they’re spending time with just doesn’t concern us.
But it hit me, there’s one massive exception… There’s one time when we ARE permitted to look through other people’s windows. And that’s right now during Chanukah– to look at the beautiful flames on people’s menorahs. What an interesting exception. Perhaps we can glean something meaningful from this…
As we know, the Greek-Syrians tried to sever our relationship with Hashem. Their hateful decrees tried to crush us SPIRITUALLY, not physically. Our enemy tried to eliminate Torah study, prevent us from performing mitzvos, and forbid us from worshipping Hashem. It was spiritual warfare. Even the oil that fuels the flames on our menorahs demonstrates this emphasis on the spiritual– the Hebrew word “hashemen,” which means “the oil”, has the exact same letters as the Hebrew word for soul, “neshama.” So the menorah doesn’t just represent one day’s worth of oil miraculously burning for eight days, it symbolizes the Jewish people’s miraculous spiritual victory.
Perhaps being permitted to look through someone’s window to see their menorah teaches us that if you’re going to peek inside someone’s home, you have to be focused on the SPIRITUAL. No materialistic concerns, no envy, no prying for curiosity’s sake, no judging, no thoughts that could divide us. Our thoughts must be pure just like the oil in the menorah… Focused on how the people in that home are CONNECTED to us… They ARE us. We share an amazing common bond– our ancestors fought together and persevered to maintain their Jewish identity, and thanks to them we have OUR Jewish identity.
When we see someone’s menorah burning proudly in the night, it’s like we’re looking through a window into the past AND the present. We stand united as one people under one G-d… bound by a common history, and a common purpose…
May the sight of someone’s menorah burning in the window always be a spiritual experience for us… inspiring us to focus on what connects us, and to always look for the light in our fellow Jew.
Have extra bright day everybody, happy Chanukah,
Keep on Building!