As the sun set at Halcyon on Thursday night, members of Congregation Beth Israel and Chabad of Forsyth let their light shine.
On Thursday, Dec. 10, Rabbi Levi Mentz lead the second annual Chanukah at Halcyon celebration at the popular outdoor mall, where he gave a brief address before leading those in attendance in prayers and songs, lighting candles, giving away gifts like dreidels, doughnuts and geld, and lighting, in his owns words “a top-tier, 9-foot menorah.”
“I would like to share just one idea with everyone,” Mentz said. “You see, in a moment, we are going to be lighting the first candle of Chanukah, and there are two ideas that we ought to think about at this moment. Idea No. 1 is how one small candle has the ability to push away so much darkness.
“Sometimes we live in a world and we wonder, ‘How is all the darkness going to go away? How is all the craziness going to go away? It seems like the world has turned over. How is this going to happen?’ and Chanukah teaches us, especially on the first night, that we all have the ability to make this world a better and a brighter place, all we have to do is have the courage to light one candle.”
Recounting the origin of Chanukah, when the Maccabees lit their menorah with only enough oil for a night, but it continued to burn for eight more, Mentz said the story showed “one candle has the ability to push away an incredible amount of darkness.”
“Think about the courage that the Maccabees had the first night of Chanukah, the first night, where they found a jug of oil and they realized, ‘This is not going to hold us. This is not going to be enough oil to carry us,’ and what did Judah the Maccabee do? He looked at his brothers, and he said ‘Let’s light that menorah.
“You see, my dear friends, I would make the argument that the second night to the eighth night of Chanukah, that we celebrate the miracle of God,” said Mentz, “but the first night of Chanukah, we celebrate the miracle of man, the miracle that Judah had the wherewithal, had the vision, had the courage that even though it didn’t make sense, even though he didn’t know how this would all be, he took that one jug with his brothers and he lit the menorah.”