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Hanukkah Day 4, “Cloud by Day and Fire by Night, The Mosaic Covenant.”

DSC007861.  Lighting your Menorah.  Tonight we continue our celebration of Hanukkah.  Let’s begin by lighting the middle candle in your Menorah, the shamash, and four candles on the far side. Notice how the glow is beginning to grow.

2.  The Call of Moses.  Read Exodus 3.  Here we have G_d calling Moses to change occupations from being a shepherd to becoming the leader of the Jewish nation.  How does G_d reveal himself to Moses?  A bush burning with . . . light.  G_d also tells us his name.  How might his name reflect the properties of light?

3.  The Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Covenant.   Read Exodus 19:1 – 20:20.  G_d uses The Ten Commandments as a covenant between himself and with the nation of Israel.  G_d promises to make the Jewish people into a “kingdom of priest and a holy nation.”  In return, the people of Israel promise to keep all of G_d’s 613 mitzvahs, 248 do’s and 365 do nots, that are encapsulated within The Ten Commandments.  In doing so, the Jewish people would be a light to all the darkness in the nations around them and to all the peoples of the earth.  In addition, it should also be noted, The Ten Commandments are considered by many to be the most influential judicial document in all of human history.

4.  The Cloud by Day and Fire by night.  Read Numbers 9:15-23.  Now the covenant between G_d and the Jewish nation is in place.  Life now begins with a new rhythm.  How does G_d show his presence to the nation of Israel?  Cloud by day and fire by night.  Does this remind you of something?  How about the smoking fire pot and blazing torch that G_d used to walk through the blood trench in Genesis 15 with Abram?  Isn’t it amazing how G_d used the same symbols that ratified the covenant with Abram, fire and smoke, to lead the nation of Israel after ratifying the Mosaic Covenant some 400 years later?  G_d is very consistent in revealing himself to mankind.

Complete your fourth night of Hanukkah by singing one or two of your favorite carols.

Tonight would be a great opportunity to play dreidels, but this time with a twist.  First, play the game with the normal rules.  Once you are finished, play a second round but have one person make up new rules along the way without telling anyone ahead of time.

Now ask yourself, which do you like better?  Playing the game knowing the rules ahead of time or being forced to learn them along the way?  Be thankful to G_d that he has made his expectations known to us ahead of time through Torah and all of scripture in the Bible.

Remember to not blow out the Hanukkah candles on your menorah.  Let them burn themselves out.  You are now half way done with Hanukkah.

From our family to yours, Happy Hanukkah and shalom.

photo by D. Mike Collins


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