In San Antonio, Texas, the Jewish community holds an annual “Hanukkah on the River” celebration. Watch more of our interview with Rabbi Chaim Block, executive director of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life & Learning, who explains how they are fulfilling the requirement to publicize the miracle with boat parades, children’s hands-on workshops and menorah lighting.
RABBI CHAIM BLOCK (Executive Director, Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning): It is about light. It is about goodness, about holiness. Yeah, we won the war, but that was a means to an end. The real miracle was the fact that we were able to begin studying Torah again and performing the mitzvoth, the traditions, living freely as Jewish people in our own land. And that miracle is represented by the candles. One little candle banishes a room full of darkness.
Pirsumei nisa literally means "to spread the miracle," to publicize the miracle. And it's about bringing light into the darkness that surrounds us as we move through our daily lives. And, as I mentioned earlier, bringing a little light through small acts of goodness and kindness has incredible impact, and tremendous impact, on the environment and the people that we come in contact with.
We welcome the non-Jewish community as well to come and participate and hear the message of religious freedom, hear the message of the importance of goodness and godliness, because indeed we are all in this world together, and we all have an obligation to make this world a better place. And so this is really the message of Hanukkah.
We will do it in as many places as we can. We'll light the menorah at home, we'll light the menorah in the synagogue, we'll light the menorah in public places. And we'll find as many opportunities as we can to light the menorah because, after all, it's about bringing as much light as we can into our world.