He did not form us like the nations of the world, nor did He make us like the families of the earth.
This powerful line takes on more meaning at this time of year. The secular world adopts an even louder voice in the winter months. The sales are eyecatching, the lights are glitzy, the festivities are noisy. Adverts plaster the streets, tunes jingle on the radio and trees glow in shop windows.
But He did not form us like them, not did He make us like them. Their lights are not ours. Our joy is not like theirs. We have a unique mission. Whilst a French citizen is one born in France and an American, one who was born in America, a Jew is not bound like the ‘goyei ha’aratzot.’ We are not bound by our land. We shine our light wherever we are.
As the secular world sparkles enticingly, we should admire the purity, beauty and joy of living life as an authentic Jew. We should celebrate. Celebrate that we can still see our Chanuka candles twinkling in our hearts. Celebrate as we begin to read the story of our Exodus, the very roots of our nation. Celebrate as we strengthen our avodas Hashem in these dreary months.
The lights bedecking the trees can be switched on or off, but the light of a Jew remains burning forever.
V’anachnu korim umishtachavim umodim lifnei melech malchei hamelachim. Because our light comes from Him. The King of all Kings.