Mikeitz - Chanukah: Are People Inherently Good or Bad?
Do you ever doubt the inherent goodness of mankind? Can people reach a point of no return? What is the nature of our core essence? Are you a good person? On a scale from one to ten how would you rate yourself? How do you think your friends and family would rate you? We often wonder if the world around us is a “good” place. Many question the true intentions of our leaders. We worry about the future. The miraculous story of Chanukah celebrated by Jews all over the world provides a timeless message into the nature of humanity’s inherent moral struggle. The focal point of the story is centred around the finding of a small cask of pure oil which miraculously burned for eight days and nights. Why did the Jewish people have to look for pure oil when under the circumstances even impure oil would have been allowed under Jewish law? The chassidic masters explain that the reason they looked for pure oil was because they knew they would find it. The mystics teach us that the oil is a metaphor for the Jewish soul. No matter how impure or corrupt the Jew might become, it is only the outward layers of the soul that can be tarnished. At its core the soul will always remain pristine. The message of Chanukah is most relevant today. We look around us and see a world that seems to be dark and unsettling. The tone of political dialogue is fuelled by anger. We ask ourselves; is there any pure oil left? Is man still inherently good? The answer today is the same as it was back then. If you look for the pure oil you are certain to find it. If you search for the good in man you will no doubt discover it. And in turn you will enable the other to see it too. An infinite goodness that can dispel an overwhelming darkness.