(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 3 December 2018)
Good Morning, La Salle and De La Salle.
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of G-d.
For those of you who do not know, Advent started yesterday,,, and so did Hanukkah. Where I come from, in my home, one of those is much more exciting than the other.
Happy Hanukkah everybody, and let me just tell you,
Hanukkah is at the perfect time this year, not too close to Thanksgiving, and not overlapping with Christmas—a perfect break during the painful 4 weeks of school between the Fall break and the Winter one.
To me, Hanukkah means a couple of things. One, a time for food and family and presents and lighting the candles, and then more food and family and presents and candles the next night, and the next night, and the night after that, and the night after that. Really just a great time! A Rabbi would tell you that it’s a celebration of Jewish victory over one of our countless oppressors throughout history, that it’s about celebrating the small stuff, the gifts from G-d, and the happy little and sometimes rather big miracles, wherever we can find them. See, the story of Hanukkah basically goes like this: roughly 2,000 years ago Israel was occupied by the Greek-Assyrian Empire. The King at this time was brutal and cruel to the Jewish people. Long story short, a very big family known as the Maccabees rose up against their oppressive leaders when they tried to burn down the temple as a means to convert the Jews in Israel.
When they finally overthrew the king and made it to the Temple, the menorah (a fancy 9 branch candelabra that can be found in every synagogue) had been stolen. The Maccabees quickly made a new one, though it was much less fancy and lit the first candle. They soon found they had almost no oil, only enough to keep the candle lit for one day. One of the several miracles in this tale is that the menorah stayed lit for 8 days, exactly how long it takes for new oil to be pressed. No matter how you hear the story of Hanukkah, if you listen close enough, you’ll find a miracle. And that is why Jews worldwide, tonight and for the next six nights will be eating, spending time with family, exchanging gifts, and lighting candles.
Let us pray:
Mr. DeMaria and I will now lead us in the Hanukkah prayers that light our way this holiday season:
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.
Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.
St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts: Forever.
Jennifer Isaacs (Class of 2020) and Gregg DeMaria (Architecture Teacher and Academic Resource Center)