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First change yourself, then change the world

צילום: פלאש90

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah. What will we take away from the illumination of the last eight nights? The following is what Rav Chaim Navon has to say regarding this matter:

"My ancestors were imprisoned in the ghetto of Frankfort, Germany, for hundreds of years. Every night, the ghetto was locked. Once a German asked one of the ghetto elders: 'Isn't it humiliating to be locked up every night in the ghetto?' The old Jew answered him: 'It's not that we are locked up on the inside, but rather that you are locked up on the outside.'

In a song from the 1970's, Erik Einstein sang 'You and I will Change the World.' The song reached mythological status in israel. Einstein was a gentle and sensitive soul, but before he changed the world, it would have been better to focus on the people who surrounded him during that time, whose lifestyle - it might be said - was in need of improvement. Before we change the world, it would be better to change ourselves and our immediate surroundings. Einstein's song 'I Love Being at Home' is a song with a more appropriate message than 'you and I will change the world.' Improvement starts on the inside and moves outward: first I will endeavor to change myself and those in my home, then I will improve my surroundings and, if possible, better the world as a whole. That is the final stage of improvement, and not the starting point.

Hanukkah reminds us to begin inside the home. Our light will penetrate the streets of the city, but starts from within the gates of our home. Whoever wants to transform the world should build barricades in the street. Whoever wants to illuminate the world should first light a candle by the entrance to his home".


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