Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
We must magnify the light, not fight the darkness.
Aaron David Gordon
Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening’s forehead o’er the earth,
And add each night a lustre till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth.
Emma Lazarus, “The Feast of Lights”
As long as Hanukkah is studied and remembered, Jews will not surrender to the night. The proper response, as Hanukkah teaches, is not to curse the darkness but to light a candle.
We light candles in testament that faith makes miracles possible.
Just as Hanukkah candles are lighted one by one from a single flame, so the tale of the miracle is passed from one man to another, from one house to another, and to the whole House of Israel throughout the generations.
Judah L. Magnes
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
The commandment to light the Hanukkah lamp is an exceedingly precious one, and one should be particularly careful to fulfill it. In order to make known the miracle, and to offer additional praise … to God for the Wonders which He has wrought for us.
The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light –
in a little cruse – lasted as long as they say;
but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day:
let that nourish my flickering spirit.
Charles Reznikoff, “Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays”
I have set you for a light of the nations.
Isaiah (Yesha”yahu) 42:6
Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.
Darkness, no matter how ominous and intimidating, is not a thing or force: it is merely the absence of light. So light need not combat and overpower darkness in order to displace it – where light is, darkness is not. A thimbleful of light will therefore banish a roomful of darkness. The same is true of good and evil: evil is not a thing or force, but merely the absence or concealment of good. One need not ‘defeat’ the evil in the world; one need only bring to light its inherent goodness.
Rebbe Menachem Schneerson