Oholei Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch of Crown Heights gathered their entire school community of students, parents, educators and friends for a Chanukah celebration with a public Menorah lighting.
A big crowd of OYYL families and friends gathered to light the 5th Chanukah candle and celebrate Chanukah with their children. For a few years now, Oholei Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch of Crown Heights has gathered their entire school community of students, parents, educators and friends for a Chanukah celebration with a public Menorah lighting. The program included a children’s rally with a raffle and fun Chanukah activity booths. Each child had an opportunity to decorate doughnuts and edible menorahs, paint wooden dreidels, construct a leather pouch for their Chanukah gelt, make their own beeswax shamoshim, string art their own dreidel design, make beeswax lip balm and a shiny lava lamp!! The event was accompanied with a milchig buffet served by Mozzarella restaurant.
“The 5th candle carries a very special light.”- Says Rabbi M. Schneiderman, OYYL Educational Director. “The 5th candle never falls on Shabbos and the light which is brought down on this day can elevate even a very deep darkness! We are very happy to gather our yeshiva community during these trying times to unite and celebrate this light and the timeless miracle of Chanukah.”
“It was a truly beautifully arranged Chanukah Party.”- Says Mrs. L. Goldshtein, OYYL Preschool Director. “Delicious food, fun, engaging and meaningful hands-on workshops for the children and a joyous rally with prizes! The spirit of the Chanukah miracle filled everyone and everything through and through! This powerful light revealed at such a special 5th night of Chanukah will definitely be a strong chizuk for all participants! A big thank you to all organizers!”
“Celebrating Chanukah with OYYL school was quite a moving experience.” Says Rabbi M. Khavis. “There was a pleasant, relaxing vibe in the air during the party and it felt like a very homey atmosphere like being a part of one large happy family. Besides the achdus feeling, Yiddishkeit was “on-fire” with the lighting of the Menorah and singing of praise and thanks to Hashem for the miracles he did for us in the past. Now, too, Hashem IS still doing miracles right here at OYYL! Despite the challenges of running a school, Hashem still makes sure there are some top-caliber, extremely dedicated staff at OYYL to ensure their students grow spiritually and reach their full potential.”
“This Chanukah celebration was an experience. We were so excited to put together this program for the kids and their parents, lighting the lights of Chanukah and sharing them with the community, bringing together unity and care. From the booths to the food, we had in mind a fun and pleasant environment. It was really a great experience for all involved, every detail had a purpose.” -Says Sophia Serur, OYYL office manager.
Chaya Simonowitch, OYYL preschool teacher shares- “Being part of the OYYL Chanukah party was very touching. The whole entire room was filled with such positive energy, an environment of happy and chassidishe kids, excited to be there! The parents sat with their kids for the delicious food followed by the rally. I was able to hear conversations between parents and their kids how they all were so proud to be there! I stayed in the “edible menorah table” and it was very nice to see them putting so much of themselves into it and into all the other nice crafts. Learning and having so much fun!”
“We are very grateful to Hashem for giving us our Rebbe who is inspiring us to invest in the chinuch of our children. We feel very blessed to serve such a beautiful community and look forward to developing this project further both in quantity and quality.”- Says Mila Schneiderman, OYYL Administrative Director.
Message of of Chanukah
Chanukah and Chinuch are essentially connected.
The miracle of Chanukah consisted of ‘finding a flask of pure oil, sealed with the hechsher of the Cohen Gadol. According to halacha, it would have been permissible to light the Menorah even with oils that had been defiled, for ‘impurity is overridden – or permitted – in the case of a community’. Nevertheless, to manifest His love for His people, Hashem performed a miracle that not only made it possible to do the mitzvah of actually lighting the menorah, but to light it in the most holy and perfect way- beTachlis haHidur.
We see that in a matter relating to holiness and purity, our approach right from the outset must be to deal with it in a most accurate and ideal way.
In particular this relates to the chinuch of boys and girls. From the very beginning, they must be given a complete Yiddishkeit, without any compromises or heteirim!
In this way we can be assured that “even when he is old he will not depart from it”. This kind of Chinuch will affect our child even when he grows older and goes out into the world. He will understand that he must struggle and not be affected by those challenges and obstacles that stand the way of accomplishing his task. His resolve will stand strong even to the point of ‘Mesiras Nefesh’.
If we want our child to overcome these struggles and challenges, “when he is old’, we must instruct him properly when he is a ‘naar‘, in his childhood.
This is why our Torah leaders dedicated themselves and exerted immense effort to ensure that the chinuch of Jewish boys and girls be al Taharas Hakodesh, – in purity and holiness.
They fought for each detail and they fought against any compromise. They remained steadfast even concerning details that did not seem significant, and did not yield. They understood that these chinuch years will affect the boy or girl for the rest of his or her life.
Our leaders knew that the children must be strengthened with the proper weapons to prevail in all of the battles that they will have to wage in the course of their lives.
A person is compared to a tree.
If a tree is damaged when it has already grown, the scar is limited to that actual spot. The rest of the tree is not affected. When the damage is done to the seed, however, the whole tree is affected. The tree that will grow from this seed is likely to be a crippled tree.
Similarly, if someone has lived much of their life, a compromise that he feels compelled to make can affect a relatively short period of time. The years that he has behind him have given him the capacity to overcome and resist the compromise and to continue with a complete Yiddishkeit.
Young people who are raised with compromises, lose their enthusiasm and zeal for Yiddishkeit for the rest of their lives. The scar and defect that is made on their neshomo when they are young may render them ‘crippled’ Jews, a baal moum.
We need a generation of young Jews who are healthy and alive spiritually, and thus also healthy and alive physically. They will be able to conquer this world not only for themselves, making their portion of it into a sanctuary for Hashem, but for the previous generations as well.
When one sets out to ‘Educate the child according to his way’, without any compromises, for this is the lesson that Chanukah teaches us: that one must not look to use out leniencies even when they are allowed according to the Shulchan Aruch. They said, “we want a miracle, because we want a pure Mikdash, a pure Menorah, and pure oil”, and consequently the light will be a pure light.
Therefore, Hashem saw to it that in a short period of time all of the adversaries were delivered into the hands of ‘those occupied with your Torah.’ They then consecrated the Beis Hamikdash with light that still radiates for us until today. For even as the sun sets and ever growing darkness descends upon the world outside, Jewish homes are bright, with an increasing brightness on each night. Just as ‘He performed miracles for our ancestors in those days’, so now too, ‘at this time’ we are confident that speedily in our times we will be zoche that the pure mikdash that has been built on high will descend. We need only to prepare a fitting place for it here.
Jewish youth, ‘Jewish’ Jews of middle age and advanced age will then illuminate the Beis Hamikdash and the world around them. This will be accomplished not only with the light of mitzvah, but with a light that is absolutely pure and absolutely holy. This will draw His presence down here betachtoinim mamash! Then this world which was until now has been coarse, or at least, material, will itself become a Beis Hamikdash for His Shechina’.