There was a young couple, not too long after their wedding, who received excellent news. They were soon going to be parents! For nine exciting months, they planned and dreamed. One bright day, her contractions started. A quick ride to the hospital, a few grueling hours of labor, and the first cries were heard. Their little miracle was born. A little baby boy. It wasn't too much later that the doctor came into her room, grim faced. In a solemn tone, the doctor told them that he has some bad news. The parents were shocked. THEIR baby? How could it be? Their baby is surely perfect! Nothing could be wrong, could it? With trembling hands and terror in their voices, the parents asked the doctor for further information. So the doctor explained. "Your baby has been born with a life threatening condition. We don't know when it will kill him. It might be an hour, a day, a week, a month. Maybe it will be after a year, or several years, but surely it will kill him. It might kill him suddenly, with absolutely no warning. It might kill him after a prolonged illness which might cause him untold suffering and pain. He may have to be hospitalized a number of times to treat complications of his condition. He may have trouble in school as a result of his condition. It might cause him difficulty making and keeping friends. Other children might taunt him as a result of his condition. It's even possible your son will suffer from mental >or emotional issues stemming from his condition." The parents are stunned. Speechless. They can't believe the way their dreams and hopes just blew away in an instant. When he finally finds his voice, the father ventures to ask "What about research? Are they working on a cure, or at least a treatment, for my son's condition?" Sadly, the doctor shook his head. He explained that due to the nature of the condition, there simply is nothing that modern science can do about it. The brand-new mother manages to stammer out, in a tear-choked voice, "what is this horrible condition from which my son suffers? What is it called?"To that the doctor replied very simply: "it's called life."
Yes. Life. Life will cause all of this bad things to happen to a person. And everyone eventually does die from "life". So what is it that makes a new baby's birth a joyous occasion, rather than a cause for mourning? The answer lies in Chanukah. On chanukah, we celebrate our triumph over the Greeks. They didn't want to kill us. They wanted to kill our purpose in life. They wanted to take away our ability to learn Torah, to do Mitzvos, to do Hashem's will. On Chanukah, we celebrate our freedom to do all of these things. We celebrate that our lives are not a means of getting to our deaths, but rather, getting to something much greater than anything we can experience in this world. And so, at Chanukah parties all over the world, as people celebrate the festival of lights with donuts and latkes, try to remember: Chanukah is about living an enlightened existence. It's about raising ourselves up from the depressing existence called "life". It's about getting from here to Olam Habah, not from here to death. That being said, enjoy your latkes and your donuts. Oh, AND your life. Happy Chanukah!