Putting Tensions to Rest: 4th Night of Hanukkah

There is a famous Talmudic argument about the observance of lighting Hanukkah candles. Bet Shammai says: On the first day one lights eight and from then on one continues to decrease, and Bet Hillel says: On the first day one lights one and from then on one continues to increase.
 
Tonight, on the fourth night of Hannukah, the lit and unlit candles meet exactly in the middle. Thus, the argument for whether we light the menorah in the ascending or descending order is put to rest, just for this moment.
 
Coincidentally, this week I am focusing my attention on Psalm 46:11. הַרְפּ֣וּ וּ֭דְעוּ כִּי־אָנֹכִ֣י אֱלֹהִ֑ים
It is most often translated as: “Be still, and know that I am God.” One of my teacher offered that the first word, harpu, may be translated as ‘relax’. Relax and know God.
 
We live with tensions, arguments, disagreements, both internal and external. I am certainly feeling it, both inside and out. Yet, when I am still, I am sometimes able to relax into the knowing. To rest and allow space for presence.
 
On the fourth night of Hanukkah, there is an alignment between dark and light. Tonight, it is also Shabbat, which allows us the space to create more light in our lives and to illuminate what it might mean to “meet in the middle” and to rest into knowing.
 
May this holiday be filled with light. May we relax into knowing divine presence.
 
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah!

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