Here comes what is known as the 'holiday season'. In our busy, on-the-go times, just how relevant is the holiday season? Besides being an excuse for vacation, does it really mean much?

 As Jews we're quite familiar with our own holiday seasons. There's Rosh Hashanah, the new year, and Sukkot. Then Chanuka, Purim, and don't forget Passover! We even have Shabbat every week. 

 Don't you sometimes feel that's it's all a kind of ancient ritual that we're clinging too without much real meaning? Perhaps we'll celebrate a holiday because it is something our parents would do, sort of a family tradition. But how many of us actually walk away from Chanuka inspired, feeling that we just celebrated something really relevant? 

 How many Jewish temples, Synagogues, schools and organizations struggle with trying to keep people, especially youth, involved and interested in Judaism and Jewish holidays? 'Why' they ask? Why should I be involved? What does it all have to do with me in my modern life today? I just celebrated Chanuka last year! Now we have it again? What would happen if I didn't celebrate Chanuka, or Passover? And Shabbat every single week! It can feel like going in circles - Shabbat again and again, Chanuka again and again, each no different than the last. 

 Kabalistic thought sums up the essence of all these holidays and Jewish life in general with one simple idea: a spiral staircase. How so? 

 True, there are many repetitions. But we have to see them not as circles, but spiral staircases. We go round and round, year after year, but each time we should be going one step higher. The idea of Chanukah, lighting up the darkness, can be constant. Last year we lit up the darkness of last year, but this year there is more we need to do.

 Each one of these Jewish holidays are times for us to pause, reflect, draw inspiration, and continue forward. Every holiday represents a method of living life and a timeless message. Our job is to take these messages and apply them to our daily lives.

 Every one of us lead very similar lives. Yes we have different jobs, families, friends and lifestyles, but in many ways we're nearly identical. So what makes each of us unique, different from the rest? It is not our social standing or surrounding circumstances - if my friend had my exact circumstances, would he suddenly be me? Of course not.

 What makes each of us unique is our way ofdealing with these circumstances. In that way, no two are the same. Every one of us has different feelings and mindsets. We each put our unique stamp on situations that we face. It's the fact that it's your career that makes you think about it so often. Because it's your  family, they mean so much to you.

 We can carry this over idea to the holidays. If they just come and go without us thinking much about them - what they stand for and what their message is, then they truly are quite redundant and meaningless. Our job is to take them and make them personalFind a message in Chanukah, Passover, Shabbat or any other, and make it yours.

 When it's your Chanukah and your Shabbat, they have very much meaning indeed.

Rabbi Avrohom