Jimmy Carter photo

Chanukah Remarks at the Lighting of the National Menorah

December 17, 1979

It's a real honor for me to come from the White House here to this ceremony celebrating the commencement of Chanukah, last night, the Feast of Lights.

As many of you know, the season of Chanukah commemorates the victory of religious freedom. At the commencement of the celebration of this annual event, this season of thanksgiving and closeness to God, there was a miracle within which the candle which was supposed to only burn a short time burned for 8 days and nights.

This miracle showed that God meets our needs. If we depend on Him, He will meet our needs. This also shows that there is a need to celebrate courage and to remember that hope in one's breast need never die.

This season, religious season, commemorates the perpetuation of age-old dreams and the hunger of men and women down through the ages to maintain a spirit committed to life under the most difficult circumstances, the most difficult persecutions, the most difficult dangers, and under the most difficult suffering. It also commemorates humankind's commitment to be free.

These commitments to live and to be free are ever present these days in the minds and hearts of all Americans, because we know that 50 of our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, are not free and they want to live. We pray that this will prevail, this desire to be free and to maintain life.

The first candle that I lit, the shammes candle, has given its light now in this glass cage to five other candles. It has not itself been diminished. It shows that when we give life and love to others, the life and love in our own hearts is not diminished. As a matter of fact it grows the more we share it. So, tonight we pray that our closeness to God, our memory of these fine commitments of human beings down through the ages will strengthen our desires to share our life and our love, not only with the 50 American hostages, for whom we pray constantly, but for men and women throughout the world who don't always have freedom and whose lives might be in danger.

I'm very grateful that this beautiful menorah has been dedicated for the commemoration of the season of Chanukah, and I'm very grateful as President to be partaking in this commemoration of a season when human beings are drawn closer to God and, in that spirit, have confidence that the future will bring us a. better life with God and with one another.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:58 p.m. at Lafayette Square.

The ceremony was sponsored by the American Friends of Lubavitch.

Jimmy Carter, Chanukah Remarks at the Lighting of the National Menorah Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248320

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