The Empty Menorah
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
The highlight of the festival of Chanukah is the mitzvah of kindling the Chanukah candles every evening. Traditionally this mitzvah is fulfilled by placing the candles in a menorah of eight holders. But in the first few days the menorah always seems very empty and incomplete. Wouldn't it be more logical to kindle these flames in single candlesticks, adding one each night?
This is lesson of the Chanukah menorah. We light one small flame at a time, representing small and responsible steps. At the same time we stare at the empty candle holders, reminding ourselves of the greater goal. We light the first, second and third flame one at a time, but aspire to ultimately fill and kindle all of the candle holders.
As we kindle the first candle this Chanukah, let us be proud of the first step we have taken, while at the same time looking forward to filling and kindling the empty holders.