MONTPELIER – State leaders joined Vermont rabbis outside the State House on Thursday to celebrate the fifth day of Hanukkah with a menorah lighting.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine did the honors, lighting five candles for the five nights of Hanukkah thus far.

A drizzly evening in Montpelier wasn’t enough to dim the menorah’s lights, which are symbolic of a message delivered by Rabbi Eliyahu Junik on the State House steps.

“They tell us a story of hard times, when absolute defeat was the only realistic possibility on the horizon,” Rabbi Junik said. “That jug of oil is still burning, not only on the menorah we see here, but it is in our hearts.”

It was one of many messages of hope, perseverance and solidarity shared by participants in the ceremony. Governor Phil Scott spoke to the importance of those qualities as Vermont continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we face adversity, when things get tough and it feels like there’s no end in sight, faith and community can lift the spirit and give us the strength we need to forge ahead,” Scott said.

Rabbi Yitzchok Raskin, Director of the Chabad of Burlington, said it’s during these uncertain times when that light is most important.

“One variant, another variant, who knows,” Rabbi Raskin said. “It’s enough to make some of us confused, and we need to have that light. The light is here to give light to the darkness.”

Rabbi Tobie Weisman said celebrating that light that shines inside you is only part of the equation. It’s just as important to spread that light.

“Especially for people who’s light isn’t shining right now,” Rabbi Weisman said. “We have to help everyone who is having a hard time shine their light in the darkness.”