The gemara records a famous debate: Beit Shammai says that we light eight Chanukah candles on the first night and work our way down to one by the eighth night; Beit Hillel believes that we should start with one candle and build up to eight. Rabbi Shmuel Borenstein (Shem miShmuel) explains that this machloket reflects how people relate to events of life. For some, inspirational moments have a diminishing effect and the spark wears off over time. At the time of the event, the impact is greatly felt, but those feelings soon fade. This is Beit Shammai. For others, even a short moment of inspiration can lead to tremendous growth in the future. That one event can be viewed as a stepping stone for the future. This is Beit Hillel. Our hope for each Chanukah is that the spiritual warmth felt from the candles serves as the beginning of future growth and has a lasting effect for years to come.
This past week in school, we shared moments and experiences that we hope will be the beginning of a bright future. On Monday, boys and girls had separate talent shows. Students and teachers took to the stage to perform amazing acts – singing, musical bands, magic shows, and even weightlifting. We laughed, cried, and applauded. We also had special Chanukah classes, with students and teachers enjoying food, fun, and learning. On Tuesday, we enjoyed sufganiyot at lunch. We had classic jelly and chocolate, and students enjoyed topping them with frosting and sprinkles. Wednesday brought more excitement and fun, with trivia competitions for each grade. Student Council created fun Chanukah and KYHS-related questions, which filled the Beit Midrash with laughter and cheers.
The Chanukah fun continued on Thursday with latkes and lattes for breakfast. It was a delicious way to start the day. At lunch, students decorated wooden dreidels and enjoyed spinning their new creations with friends. Friday, the last day of our Chanukah Week, featured a ruach-filled chagigah. Students and teachers danced (and danced) until they couldn’t stand any longer. When the music stopped, Student Council announced the winners of the teacher raffle. Students cheered for their friends and celebrated the $1,300 raised in five days, which went to buy Chanukah presents for iShine. Finally, this year’s long-awaited music video was shown. The Beit Midrash exploded with cheers and laughter as teachers lip-synced Six13’s Bohemian Chanukah. The energy in the building was explosive and we hope that it continues in the weeks and months to come.