I am disturbed by the in-your-face way Chanukah is celebrated these days. Public Menorah lightings, huge Menorahs in shopping centres, Menorahs on car roofs. In my day, Jews knew it was better to keep quiet and out of sight. Aren't we just asking to be attacked?
Every religion wants to change the world. There are two ways of going about it. One is by converting the world to be like you. The fire in your soul is so all-consuming, it spreads and devours the entire world in its passion.
The other way is to just be yourself, live proudly by your own principles, and by so doing influence others to become better too. The light of your soul shines so brightly, it illuminates the world around you.
The Jewish way is this second path, the path of shedding light. We don't seek to convert others to Judaism, but rather by living it ourselves, proudly and publicly, its light can influence our neighbours to better themselves as they are.
The basic moral principles of Judaism are universal: the sanctity of life, the sacredness of marriage, the value of every individual, and the divine source of right and wrong. Not to share this light with the world would be selfish.
The Jew is called upon to be a living Menorah, a shining light to the outside. Light doesn't impose itself on its surroundings, it brightens its surroundings, allowing all to see the preciousness of the life that they have been given.
For most of history Jews have been forced to live sheltered lives. The Menorah had to be kept indoors, in fear of the hostile nations surrounding them. But times have changed. No longer must Jews live in fear. For the first time in history, a confused world is ready to hear the Jewish message. And the world never needed a clear source of morality more than it does today. Now is the time for the light of the Menorah to be taken to the streets for all to see.
In a world where religious confrontation has reached global proportions, the light of the Menorah, that brightens rather than consumes, might literally save our planet.