We all know that Chanukah is a time of light. However it is interesting to note that Chanukah is in the darkest part of the year; both in the dead of winter, and when the days are the shortest. Chazal don’t do anything by accident, so what is the significance of this?
There is a famous question that, when explored, I believe can help shed light on the aforementioned question. Many of the Baalei Mussar ask: If Moshiach didn’t come during the generations of the Tannaim, Amoraim, Rishonim..how will he come in our generation, one which seems to be on a much lower level?
The answer given is that if one puts on a flashlight or candle in a very bright room, it doesn’t shed any light. However, if one uses that same candle or flashlight in a pitch-black room, it lights up the whole room! So, while we may technically be on a “lower-level” than earlier generations on the whole, even basic or smaller things that we do stand out more because of the dark world in which we live.
With this, we can answer our initial question. Chanukah is all about the menorah and light. It takes place at the darkest times of year to teach us this exact lesson:
Light in the darkest times, even a bit of light, shines so bright.
I think this is very apropos in our time today. There is so much darkness in the world, and we face great challenges on a daily basis. However we have so much Torah Avodah and Gemillas Chassadim happening on a daily basis as well. Even more importantly, there is a tremendous amount of negativity and cynicism in the world, if we are able to add some positivity to it, whether through kind words or actions, even seemingly small actions, they will shine as brightly as the sun. With this, we can truly be a “light onto all the nations of the world.”