Rabbi Hanukkah Message

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
– Scott Adams

Reb Lipa, a rabbi from Jerusalem, traveled abroad collecting money for mitzvah causes. He arrived in Milan, Italy on erev Shabbat, just a few hours before candle-lighting. Knowing nobody in Milan, Reb Lipa
walked around the city hoping he would find a Jewish neighborhood and a place to stay for Shabbat. Suddenly, a horse drawn carriage drew up alongside Reb Lipa. “Shalom Aleichem!” said a voice, “What is a
Jew like you doing in Milan?” Reb Lipa looked up with surprise and said, “I am here from Jerusalem and I am looking for the Jewish
neighborhood.” “You are in luck” said the wealthy carriage rider, who immediately invited Reb Lipa to be his Shabbat guest. Several hours later, Reb Lipa was sitting with the Hilvicht family enjoying a sumptuous
Shabbat meal. The home was full of beautiful crystal bowls, flasks and silverware. However, among all the expensive items in the china cabinet, Reb Lipa noticed a broken glass flask. The broken flask looked out-ofplace among the china and silverware. When Reb Lipa asked Mr. Hilvicht about the broken flask, he told the following story:

Mr. Hilvicht was born and raised in an observant home in Amsterdam. When he was 18 years old, he traveled to Italy to help his ailing grandfather run his business. Soon after he arrived in Italy, his grandfather passed away. Although his parents wanted him to sell the store and return home, Mr. Hilvicht decided to
remain in Italy and take over his grandfather’s business. It wasn’t long before business was booming and Mr. Hilvicht was able to open a second store. One day, Mr. Hilvicht was so busy with his work that he forgot
to pray mincha (afternoon prayers). That was the beginning of his slide away from Yiddishkeit (Judaism/ Jewishness). Soon, he missed shacharit (morning prayers) too. One by one, Mr. Hilvicht dropped all of his mitzvah observances. Eventually he married and had children. Although he became very wealthy, his practice of Judaism was almost non-existent. One winter afternoon, as Mr. Hilvicht was taking his daily
stroll, he noticed a group of Jewish children playing happily. All, that is, except for one boy who was crying bitterly and repeating, “What will I tell my father? What will I tell my father?” Mr. Hilvicht asked the boy why he was crying. The boy explained that his father had given him money to buy a flask of oil for lighting the Chanukah lights. However, on the way home, he had joined his friends in their game and dropped the oil. Mr. Hilvicht felt bad for the youngster and bought him another flask of oil. The boy’s broken flask of oil had ignited the tiny flame of Yiddishkeit that still burned in Mr. Hilvicht’s heart. The little boy’s words rang in his ears. “What will I tell my father? What will I tell my father?” Mr. Hilvicht thought, “What will I tell my Father in Heaven?” Why don’t I have a relationship with G-d and my people? Mr. Hilvicht returned to where the children were playing and gathered up the pieces of glass from the broken oil flask. That night, to the surprise of his wife and children, he lit a Chanukah candle. The next night he lit two and with each passing night he increased the number of candles. As he stared at the flickering flames he recalled his home in Amsterdam and realized how far from Judaism he had drifted. That Chanukah was the beginning of Mr. Hilvicht’s return Home. Legend has it that the Shechina (G-d) does not rest within 10 handbreadths of the ground. It is,
however, a mitzvah to place the Chanukah Menorah within 10 handbreadths of the ground. “Why,” one may ask? Because the Chanukah lights have the power to bring holiness where holiness is not found. Chanukah shows us the power of one small good deed. Often, we tend to perceive our actions as being merely as simple and insignificant as lighting just one candle. However, our impact may, in fact, turn
out to be as beautifully magnificent and meaningful as a fully lit Chanukiah (Chanukah Menorah) shining brightly. One simple good deed can lead to a Holy “ripple with no logical end!”
May this Chanukah be full of enlightenment and a renewed sense of spirituality that energized each of us to do just a little more and more each day to bring Holiness to the places and people who need it most!

With Love and Blessings,
Rabbi Dan