So, there were so may ideas coming to me during my 15 mile run yesterday from Wauconda to Buffalo Grove in the freezing rain, that I will have enough to post for a week, I think! In any event, there is no way I could get away without posting about Hanukkah. So what is Hanukkah? Well, the simple answer is that it is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
Really, we celebrate the fact that one drop of oil that the Jews had to light the Menorah for one day actually lasted for eight days. This was a miracle due to the fact that the Menorah was actually a flame that was spiritual in nature and part of the ritual practiced in the holy temple. This was not simply to light a room, the oil was sacred and used as such. The oil had to be Ritually pure. “Ritually pure.” What, exactly, is that? What properties does a ritually pure sample of olive oil have that the others don’t? What laboratory tests can be performed to measure degrees of ritual purity? There are none. Ritual purity is a state that has no parallel in the physical universe; it exists solely in the world of the spirit.(Chabad.org).
What does this have to do with my blog you may ask…. well, in many yoga practices, essential oils can be used to enhance a pose or assist in healing one of the shakras. So spiritually oil has been a part of tradition for thousands of years. An oil is any neutral chemical substance that is a viscous liquid at ambient temperatures, is immiscible with water but soluble in alcohols or ethers. Oils have a high carbon and hydrogen content and are usually flammable and slippery (nonpolar). Oils may be animal, vegetable, or petrochemical in origin, volatile or non-volatile. Source. The oils used in yoga are plant based, vegan, “green” and refined to be of therapeutic grade (not to be confused with ritually pure). But if you would like to know more about these oils please let me know. A good example can be taken from an article published in this month’s natural health magazine. The article discusses how Japanese corporations are encouraging employees to go on walks into forests. Breathing in the air within the forest not only makes the employees happier, less depressed, it makes them productive. The article suggests taking a high quality DVD of a forest and watching it while diffusing therapeutic grade spruce oil. The effect is the same, and I speak from having tried this.
So, can an oil be a miraculous substance? I would say that any substance that can alter a state of mind for a positive purpose is a miraculous substance. We can talk about medications that cure ailments and lend to a better life for humans. Of course if abused, just like anything else, substances can even kill us. Certain substances, of course should never be used to alter ones mind as they do not enhance one’s well being, they on the other hand damage the way humans act or feel. But it is still a miracle that we have the ability to study and choose to use these substances found in nature (for good – I am officially condemning the use of illegal drugs and hope that no one misrepresents what I am saying here) Oils are miraculous and the fact that they can be purified by humans and used for therapeutic purposes is a miracle.
We live in a world where people say that miracles are not possible. Everywhere I walk I seem to hear people say that things are bad, times are bad, etc. The news focuses on the bad, not the good. I would recommend Huffington Post’s Good News site by the way, there you can see miracles unraveling. The next time you take a deep breath think to yourself and ponder whether that in itself is a miracle. I would say – it absolutely is a miracle.
As we celebrate Hanukkah, which commemorates more that one simple miracle, take a look at everything around you and I bet you will find a miracle. I can tell you one thing … you being on this planet is a miracle!