Statements & Speeches

Chanukah, Festival of Lights (Statement)

December 3, 2018

Honourable senators, this evening marks the beginning of the second night of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. There are many great lessons that can be drawn from the story of Chanukah, lessons not exclusive to the Jewish people but ones that can be relevant to us all.

This holiday tells the story of a courageous group of Jewish warriors, the Maccabees, who decided to stand up against their oppressors. The Maccabees were not known to be mighty, yet they exceeded all expectations, reminding us that even a small group of people can make a big difference.

Not long after their victory, the Jewish people returned to their desecrated temple and miraculously found a small jar of oil used to light the menorah. They thought this oil would last them one night, yet it lasted for eight. This was a miracle of light. To all those around, it sent a message of hope and redemption. Light will always triumph over darkness. We know this to be true, even today.

Following the harrowing event that shook Pittsburgh’s Jewish community in late October, Canadians and many communities around the world came together and united against anti-Semitism, prejudice and acts of terror. They showed us it is only through true spirit, commitment, courage and determination that we can triumph over evil.

Some of you may know the name for this holiday, Chanukah, comes from the Hebrew word for “dedication.” In the spirit of this holiday, let us dedicate ourselves to always protect our Canadian values of freedom, tolerance, peace and security. This is what binds us as a nation.

It’s my wish to all celebrating, either here in Canada or around the world, that these upcoming days of celebration bring you and your loved ones peace and joy.