In last week’s Thought for the Week, Rabbi Gershon mentioned that Chanukah celebrates a military victory – specifically, the defeat of the Seleucid Greeks at the hands of the Maccabees. It is absolutely incredible that our ancient ancestors achieved such a feat – we might even call it miraculous. 

This past Sunday, I tried to explain miracles to our Religion School students. I gave examples, like a car that could sprout wings to avoid traffic, but our students were quick to call these imaginative ideas ‘impossible‘. 

What is trickier to explain to them is that miracles do still happen – just last week I met with two couples preparing for marriage. Call me a romantic but with all of the stress and pressure in life it seems incredible to me that people still find the time to fall in love and make the choice to pursue marriage. But love isn’t the only miracle in our world.  

Our Torah portions lately have been exploring the life story of Joseph the Dreamer. Whenever I read these portions, I can’t help but think of my grandfather Joseph. Like his biblical namesake, he too had amazing dreams. He fled Romania in 1939 and found himself in Mandate Palestine in 1948. He was there when Israel was born, a dream that seemed too farfetched to ever come true. It was an echo of the Maccabees, and it is perhaps another reason why Chanukah transformed from a minor holiday into the treasured festival we know today.  

As we put our Chanukiyot away for another year, take a moment to name the miracles that have occurred in your life. We all have a lot to be thankful for.