On Sunday evening, November 26, Charlie Harary, well-known inspirational speaker and author, shared an inspiring Zoom shiur on behalf of Let’s Get Real With Coach Menachem. Mr. Harary began by sharing how we’re about to enter Chanukah, and it’s an incredible holiday.

Every holiday has so many mitzvos connected to it, but Chanukah has just lighting candles. It’s interesting that this is the main mitzvah, since in the story of Chanukah – the oil burning for eight days – is not the main part.

In the story, the king of the Syrian-Greeks came to destroy Judaism. He made every mitzvah punishable by death. A few Jews hid in the hills and observed mitzvos and they only came out at night. The Syrian-Greeks fought Matisyahu. They wanted to force him to sacrifice a pig in the Beis HaMikdash. The Maccabees fought the Syrian-Greeks for three years. During that time, Hashem performed miracle after miracle for the Jews. At the end of the war, they found the pure oil and, though there was only enough for one day, it burned for eight.

He asked why the candles are the symbol for Chanukah? We won a miraculous war, so shouldn’t the symbol be a sword and shields? Charlie Harary explained that fire is the element closest to the soul. To connect to the soul, you light a candle. The holiest day of the week, Shabbos, is ushered in with fire. “The fire of G-d is the soul of man.” Fire is the element that represents spirituality. When the war ended, the Chashmona’im dragged the Menorah out into the courtyard. We fought a war, but our victory did not come about because of the Chashmona’im. Jews don’t win wars just through strength. They win from their faith and because of the candle inside of them. The fight was a spiritual fight, so the symbol of Chanukah is the candle, which represents spirituality.

The miracle of the holiday of Chanukah was the last open miracle we had before galus. The message of the holiday of Chanukah is to remember: You will see darkness in galus, but in spirituality you can find the light. “That applies now more than ever,” he said. “That is who we are. We are a nation that lights candles in darkness.”

He taught that resilience is a perspective. It has to do with the story you tell yourself. You have to tap into the resources Hashem gave you. Israel just experienced its worst tragedy and now it is exploding with unity. Everyone in Israel is saying that we are going to win, and no one says it is because of the army.

They know because of what we say at the Seder on Pesach. We say that in every generation they rise up against us, but Hashem always saves us. We all need to keep that teaching in the forefront. We believe that Hashem will never abandon us.

To bring light into this world, you need to do something tangible. It is important to have a purpose. Purposelessness breaks us. Things happen when you remind yourself that your life is purposeful, and that Hashem is guiding you constantly. He shared a quote from one of his rebbeim. “Part of faith is believing that Hashem has one picture in his wallet and it’s of you.” You have to believe in your core that you are worthy of Divine love as this is the block of faith.

He taught how parents love their children unconditionally. The hardest part of a challenge is if you don’t believe it is giving us any benefit. We live in a material world where there are winners and losers. If you believe that Hashem loves you and He has a masterplan, this helps you deal with challenges.

Today, Hashem deals with us through His hand of nature. Of course, nature itself is a miracle. If you believe that Hashem is with you and our nation, then you will look for Hashem’s intervention everywhere and you will live a life of miracles.

He shared a miracle that happened in the beginning of the war when there was a huge downpour that flushed out a lot of the enemy from the tunnels. It was unusual for the tunnels to flood at this time of year. There are many miraculous stories that have come out. He emphasized that ”you can choose to live a life that is miraculous, and this will change the way you deal with challenges.” You have to work on your perspective.

He added that the spirit in Israel has never been stronger and never so united. There are signs hanging everywhere in Israel that say we will win. Collectively, we have never been closer.

We need to be a source of positivity. “Positivity drives resilience.” One candle lights up a lot of darkness. Someone asked how to still believe in Hashem when bad things and challenges are happening, and it seems like his prayers are not being answered. Charlie Harary answered that it isn’t Hashem’s job to deliver. Part of the challenge of being a Jew is understanding that there is din – judgment – and we don’t have a vision of Hashem’s moves. There is a judge, and there is reward and punishment, but we don’t know how it works. Our job is to do good, not to run the world. We know that more good will come when we do good things. He said to transfer your idea of G-d from an “Amazon G-d” to a parent, which means you don’t run the world, but you trust Hashem. Find small, positives things and make them big.

By Susie Garber