It was a picture of Gilad Shalit celebrating Chanukah at home. Gilad Shalit, for over 5 years, was held captive by Hamas militants. From the time he was 19 to 25, he was imprisoned and deprived of many of the freedoms the rest of the world takes for granted. On October 18, just over two months ago, he was released in exchange for over 1000 Palestinians who had been captured by Israel.
It is a simple picture but it expresses nothing less than a miracle. Gilad Shalit looks great. A bandaged hand and skinny frame, but smiling and standing on his own two feet. He looks like he is celebrating with six other people (as evidenced by the six glasses on the table), and he is lighting the Chanukiah in his parents’ home. The fact that he could even be photographed like this exemplifies the miracle of freedom.
So often we sit in our homes and light our Chanukiot without even a thought to how lucky we are to be able to do so. Gilad Shalit could not celebrate any holidays for over 5 years, and now because of the perseverance of his family and the willingness of the Israeli government to compromise, we are able to celebrate with him, and acknowledge our own freedom this Chanukah.
May we understand how blessed we are to be free to light our Chanukiot this Chanukah.