Blog Post

Rededicating our individual Sanctuary

The festival of Chanukah which we celebrate this week, was instituted to celebrate and commemorate the liberation and re dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem, from the Greek conquerors. While under Greek control, the Temple was looted, non Kosher animals were sacrificed on the altar, the Temples holy vessels were defiled and idols were erected in its midst. As soon as the Jews reentered the Temple, they set about cleansing it from the idols, a new altar was built in place of the polluted one, and new vessels were made to replace the defiled ones. The temple was then re dedicated, and a festival called Chanukah which is derived from the word “chanach”which means to dedicate, in Hebrew, was established .

The story and meaning of Chanukah is analogous to the story of each and every one of us in recovery. Our bodies and our humanity are likened to the temple, as we read in Exodus 25-8: G-D commands Moses to tell the Jews: “They shall make me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them.” The commentators explain, that G-D is instructing each and every one of us individually, to become a mini temple, a pure vessel  that is worthy of Divine dwelling. The Greeks are likened to our addictions, which upon coming in contact with our bodies and our souls, create destruction, defilement and pollution rendering us unfit and unworthy of Divine dwelling and blessing. The festival of Chanukah celebrates the victory of light over darkness, of truth over falsehood, of purity over defilement. Chanukah is a time for us to redouble our efforts, to cleanse and re dedicate our own individual temple so that we can  each be a human sanctuary, worthy of being a dwelling place for the Divine.

Shabbat Shalom & Happy Chanukah,

Rabbi Meir Kessler