Whether it is Hanukkah or Thanksgiving, Christmas or Winter Solstice, New Year's Eve or a festival of light, the human instinct to move closer to the source of light and life intensifies when the world around us grows darker and colder.
As the attendant to the light, the Shamash is responsible for lighting all the others. So too, each of us is a light. We have the choice as to whether we live from that lit-up place or ignore our light.
Hanukkah celebrations are changing for many of us. Today, they may include a visit with grandkids via Skype and photos of them sent from cell phones. We're lighting virtual menorahs and watching Hanukkah videos on YouTube and singing along with Adam Sandler.
Diwali for me has always been something empowering: a time to reflect on all of the positives within our lives -- our loving friends and family, our good health, and prosperity -- and realize what it is truly important.
What most visitors don't know is that behind the glittering winter wonderland is a small team of dedicated bulb testers, who this year hand tested 1.4 million lights in the 12 weeks leading up to the festival's opening Dec. 9.
The world is rife with worthy causes we have taken up with enthusiasm and then abandoned. Rededicate yourself to repairing God's anguished world. If we manage that, the oil will burn for countless nights to come.
Diwali has many reasons to be celebrated, but what they have in common is the belief that the day, in one way or another, commemorates freedom from ignorance, darkness and evil, and an awakening, or reawakening, of light, goodness and wisdom.