The letters for oil in Hebrew-“SHMN”- when rearranged spell-“NSHM”- the root word for breath. Again, the sacred strata embedded in the vocabulary of Israel evoke a sense of the divine in material things. Oil,"SHMN", a fuel for light , warmth, and the emergence of energy, is entirely dependent on oxygen, on the breath, on “NSHM.”
The principle of the everlasting, the indestructible, the enduring associated with the cruse of oil that burned beyond its physical capacity of one day is a clear reiteration of the symbol for the miracle of life’s unfolding quality which never diminishes to extinction ,but somehow grows and expands like the universe itself.
In the mystical tradition of discovering God in all things, the letter rearrangement of “SHMN” illustrates our ability “to behold the infinite in everything finite.” Light and breath, the essence of living reality, become the basic ingredients for the life of the human soul and spirit as well.
Chanukah’s use of the ordinary, the product of the earth, and a tangible act of doing, point to the reality of the extraordinary, a heavenly source, and a spiritual gesture of understanding and intuition.
Again we are summoned to pay attention to the lights and to our breath, and in this way perceive the wonder of Chanukah.