Sunday, September 20, 2009

1938 Chanukah Miracle

It happened shortly after Kristelnacht in 1938 that a Jewish family was
trying to escape Germany on a train bound for Holland. They worried that the
Gestapo agents at the border would find fault with their papers and find an
excuse to detain them. This was the last night of Chanukah and the family
had not had a chance to light the Chanukah candles. When they arrived at the
border a long line of Gestapo agents boarded the train, but as they began to
examine the passports the lights in the entire station went out. The father
of this Jewish family pulled out his Menorah and quickly lit eight candles
in succession.

The lights attracted unwanted attention and the little cabin quickly filled
with unsmiling Gestapo agents. But these agents did not pay the Jews any
attention. They simply used the candle light to perform their duties and
inspected the passports of the train’s passengers. When the last passport
was examined the agents turned to the Jewish family and thanked them
politely for providing emergency lights. So grateful were they that they
forgot to check the passports of the Jewish family thus saving their lives.

As soon as the agents left the train the lights in the entire station came
back on and the train crossed the border.

A modern Chanukah miracle. The lights went out to save this family and so
long as their Chanukah lights burned they were safe. It is truly an amazing
story. But for our purposes this story has a message. So long as the
blinding lights of the station burned the Jew was in danger. So long as the
lights of economic success burn we live in a bubble of illusion that
jeopardizes the true purpose of life. The glittering lights of success blind
us from the inspiring message of life’s true meaning and we continue to live
the illusion. Once the lights go out, the new realization can dawn. The
former false lights are replaced by lights that illuminate the true meaning
of life. The former lights of transient value are replaced by lights that
allow us access to eternity; lights that radiate a heavenly message and
impart a humble truth.

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