This blog should have been easy to write – it should have been full of good news about Chanuka, how in Israel we celebrate the Maccabean (Hasmonean) uprising and the rededication of the Temple.
During the rededication there was the miracle of single day’s worth of oil that lasted 8 days in the Menorah (ritual candelabra) until some new oil was ready. Chanuka is a time of light with almost everybody lighting their menorah and as per the tradition doing so in a window facing the street or even on the street itself. Public buildings are similarly adorned.
There is a general good feeling of light banishing darkness, of preserving a culture and excessive amounts of donuts and other oil based foods, together with lots of happy children with their presents, and family time and activities.
The blog should also have been about the new road tunnel in Haifa that opened a few days (Carmel Tunnel) that will ease congestion.
The blog should also have been about how there was finally some rain (not the first of the winter, but, it has been a long time until this second installment.)
So I can set your mind at ease – Chanuka was celebrated in traditional style in most of the country, the road tunnels are open and will help and it did rain – long may it continue.
However, the news over the past few days has been about the Carmel Forest Fire, and the tragic loss of so many brave people in the line of duty, and of the ecological disaster. It is also about the international support and help that brought firefighters from many different countries. We salute you all, and honour those who fell. Lots of ordinary people are doing remarkable things to help the victims and the families, driven only by genuine selflessness.
We can but, hope that we will all remember that carelessness with fire kills and that ultimately the smaller and controlled flames of the Menorah will banish darkness.
In the In Israel Blog we normally focus on a site in Israel. This week I would like to recommend the Mukhraqa located on the Carmel – it offers some outstanding views, and was the scene of Elijah’s triumph over the prophets of Baal where he managed to offer his sacrifice with heavenly fire despite the fact that it was doused with water. We are grateful that in our rational world there were people who were able to douse the fire with water.