[guestpost]Tonight is the last night of Chanukah. All eight candles are lit. Our wisdom and spirits burn brightly. May this be a year of growth, happiness and peace. [/guestpost]
As a child my mom brought me to synagogue every week. She sang in the choir, so I typically  sat near a older man named Dave Miller.
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Dave always had a smile on his face. He would crack jokes to me throughout the service. He seemed like the happiest man in the world.

As I got to know him more, however, I saw the weariness behind the smile. He had not had an easy life. His wife died at a young age. He had struggled in business. His kids lived far away.

Still, he radiated happiness. As David Brooks wrote recently, age and happiness go hand and hand. Perhaps our expectations change. Perhaps what we value shifts. Whatever the case, studies suggest a strong correlation. 

Weak Bodies, Strong Souls

Indeed, we not only grow happier. We also grow wiser. Now, neither is a guarantee. As my grandfather often said, the only sure things in life are death and taxes.

Yet,  age and experience give us more opportunities to grow in wisdom. As the body grows weaker, our soul can grow stronger.

The Chanukah Lights

We embody throughout Chanukah. The oil we use to light the candles represents our bodies. It is physical matter.

The flame, on the other hand, represents our wisdom. It creates light. It brings intangible warmth.

On the first enough we have a lot of oil—enough for eight nights—but only one flame of light. We are strong in body and short in wisdom.

As the holiday progresses, however, the oil diminishes but the flames grow brighter. We grow in wisdom, even as our bodies deteriorate. 

The wisest person I knew was my 95 year old grandfather, who taught me profound as he lay on a hospital bed. I think of him as the eight lights of Hanukkah burn brightly.

Rabbi Evan

I show the way Jewish wisdom make our lives richer and happier. In particular, I help Jews appreciate their heritage and Christians uncover the Jewish roots of their faith. Get my FREE Jewish holidays cheat sheet by clicking here.

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