Seven Candles: Lifting Up Joy

In Rededication, a series for Chanukah by Rabbi Yael Levy, we are invited to notice the blessings and lift up the good.

Here is tonight’s teaching:

Seven Candles: Lifting Up Joy
On this seventh night of Chanukah, we continue welcoming the new month of Tevet and we rededicate ourselves to celebration and joy. It can be so easy to become overwhelmed and caught in despair by what is going on in this country and throughout the world. Without denying this reality, we lift up the delights of life.

Naming and noticing moments of joy, finding reasons to celebrate, joining in laughter and play strengthens and renews us. It gives us energy and increases our capacity to deal well with whatever we encounter. Embracing joy honors life and inspires new possibilities and direction. As we light the candles, we name and illuminate delights we have experienced and joys we have shared.
This is the day the One has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

—Psalm 118:24
Practice: Expressing Gratitude

Taking our seats, resting the attention gently on the breath, we focus on gratitude. Giving thanks opens the heart and increases our experiences of joy and well-being. With gentleness, we say to ourselves, Modah Ani, I am grateful. Over and over again, we repeat this phrase, Modah Ani, I am grateful.

Sometimes gratitude comes easily and we feel filled to overflowing. Other times gratitude is much more difficult to reach. When this happens, it is imperative to be kind and compassionate with ourselves.

With continued gentleness we say Modah Ani, I am grateful. If we are able, we name for ourselves ten things we are grateful for.

We close the sit with the words of the psalmist, saying for ourselves:

My heart is happy.
My soul rejoices.
My whole being dwells in trust. 

—Psalm 16:9
Then we say for three other people in turn:
May your heart be happy.
May your soul rejoice.
May your whole being dwell in trust.

Action: Share Gladness
In honor of the seventh night of Chanukah and Rosh Hodesh Tevet, we give tzedakah to an organization that is dedicated to bringing goodness into the world. We also do our best to move slowly as we go about our day, noticing beauty, creating moments of connection and taking the opportunity to share joy or gladness with someone.
Enjoy Natalie Merchant singing and dancing to “These are the Days.”

Rabbi Yael Levy