April 20, 2024 1:55 pm

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This Chanukah, let your inner oil burst into a flame of mitzvah

LYNNWOOD, Wash, December 11, 2023—Residents throughout Snohomish County attended Chabad Jewish of Snohomish County’s annual Giant Menorah Lighting ceremony at Lynnwood City Hall on Sunday in celebration of Chanukah and in remembrance of the victims of the October 7th terrorist attack by Hamas against Southern Israel.

“It is important tonight to start with a thanks and an appreciation for this great country that we live in…for this great city and for this state,” Rabbi Berel Paltiel of Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County opened. “Because, for the Jewish people, we are going through the most difficult time and the support that we feel nationally, from our President down, locally with our elected officials and with our neighbors…. The Jewish Community will never forget, thank you so much. The United States of America is living up to its name as a beacon of light and liberty for all.”

The event featured live music by the Seattle based Klez Katz Klezmer band and guests enjoyed Chanukah sufganiyots (jelly doughnuts) and chocolate coins, and face painting was available for kids.

Annual Giant Menorah Lighting ceremony at Lynnwood City Hall on Sunday, December 10, 2023. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“Chanukah is about light over darkness,”Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) told attendees. “Tonight is a reminder that the light shines brightly not only on the candle in the Menorah but look around you, it shines brightly in the spirit of our community.”

Before wishing everyone a safe and happy Chanukah, Larsen asked everyone to reach out to their Jewish friend to find out how s/he may be doing during this dark period in history to “show you care.”

“I know members of our community here in Lynnwood, in our state and across the country are experiencing darkness and pain due to antisemitism. Together we can stand against that, ought to stand against that, will stand against that, and we will stand for the light,” said Larsen.

Chanukah snohomish county
Click on image to view Proclamation recognizing Chanukah in Snohomish County or click here.

After reading part of a Chanukah Proclamation on behalf of County Executive Dave Somers, Rabbi Paltiel gave a speech on transferring the energy of “concern, anxiety, anger” into a flame of a mitzvah (commandment).

“The Jewish soul is present more than we have seen in many, many, decades,” said Paltiel.

“Why is it that someone here can’t sleep at night because a child is being held captive more than seven thousand miles away; it’s shared experience… They are feeling a yearning to reconnect with our faith, a love and a drive and a passion and a hope that people haven’t felt in a long time.”

Rabbi Berel Paltiel of Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County delivering his Chanukah message at the annual Giant Menorah Lighting ceremony at Lynnwood City Hall on Sunday, December 10, 2023. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Judah Maccabee was a leader in the Maccabean Revolt who fought for Judean independence, recorded in the Books of Maccabees. Rabbi Paltiel shared that after the Maccabean Revolt that drove the Greeks out of Jerusalem, there was enough pure oil for only one night to light the Temple’s six-foot Menorah. However, in what is described as a miracle, the light burned for seven additional nights.

“The Maccabees were suffering persecution that was meant to starve them and persecute them out of existence, yet they found the[ir] inner oil; the oil representing the inner part of the soul that never loses its identity despite all that it may be going through despite the pressures.

“October 7th changed every Jew in the world. For many of us, our inner oil…was covered with distractions, maybe we forgot about it for a little bit, it went to sleep. And that soul was shocked out of its slumber and now it is awake and its alive.”

He concluded his Chanukah message with words of the resilience of the Jewish people.

“Hamas and those genocidal chapters on college campuses, can’t destroy the Jewish spirit; to the contrary. It shocks us into being awake and the oil will now burst into a flame.”

Lynnwood City Council Vice President Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (center) with Edmonds School District Director Debra Kilgore (left of Crosby) at the annual Giant Menorah Lighting ceremony dancing with community members on Sunday, December 10, 2023. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Both Mayor Christine Frizzell and Police Chief Cole Langdon spoke during Sunday’s event.

“Rabbi [Paltiel], thank you for choosing Lynnwood,” Mayor Christine Frizzell said. “Thank you for the great partnership that we have.”

“During this time of gratitude, I want to express our thanks for giving us something worth protecting and fighting for,” Lynnwood Police Chief Cole Langdon said. “Thank you, Rabbi Paltiel.”

Lynnwood City Council Vice President Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, Councilman George Hurst, and Edmonds School District Director Debra Kilgore also attended.

The Menorah lighting is part of the worldwide Hanukkah campaign, an initiative launched by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 1973. The campaign highlights and encourages the central theme of the holiday — publicizing the story of the Hanukkah miracle.

Lynnwood’s menorah is one of more than 15,000 large public menorahs sponsored by Chabad in more than 100 countries around the world, including in front of landmarks such as the White House and the Eiffel Tower, helping children and adults of all walks of life discover and enjoy the holiday message.


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