Countdown To Chanukah 28 – Absorption and Expansion
He illuminates the earth [and provides light] for those who dwell on it, with compassion (Morning Prayers, Blessings of Shema – sefaria.org)
The Abudirham connects this line of prayer to, “Dominion and dread are His; He imposes peace in His heights. Can His troops be numbered? On whom does His light not shine (Job 25:3-4 – sefaria.org)?” Everything on earth, explains the Abudirham, draws sustenance from the sun. Everything on earth, elaborates the Chidah (Chomat Anach), draws its life-source from God, as in, “The soul of a person is God’s candle (Proverb’s 20:27),” and the person must absorb and expand this light.
Absorption and expansion of light certainly describes the increasing numbers of candles each night of Chanukah.
It also describes how the few, willing to challenge the might of their oppressors and stand up against the overwhelming numbers of the Hellenists were able to find inspiration and the power to expand the battle against the Syrian-Greeks.
Perhaps, Absorption and Expansion also describes the process of preparing for Chanukah:
We first must gather all the Illuminations of the past year which, on so many levels, was one of darkness. How did we face the many challenges? How were we able to grow? Where did we find the power to live with hope and joy?
After we have defined the Illuminations of the past year we can absorb them. We can find ways to internalize and incorporate them into our regular practices.
As we approach Chanukah, we can take all the illuminations we have gathered and absorbed and find creative ways to expand them by sharing with others, by finding new prayers or Mitzvot where they, in turn, can be expanded by the Light We Have Absorbed.