Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Broken Tradition

Third night of Hanukkah, and our yearly holiday party is still not on.

For many years we had a few families get together to light the Hanukkiya, the holiday menorah. I fried latkes and together we sang. Then we ate. The children played Pin the Candle on the Menorah, (yes, that Donkey’s tail had a Jewish version at our house) and spun the dreidel earning unshelled walnuts.

The children grew taller, we grew older, and the parties kept coming regularly on the first Saturday night of Hanukkah.

Ten year ago, my party supplies were ready. Invitations to the party sent, and we were all set. Less than a week before the party my mother died.

I just couldn’t have a party that year. The next year, on the very same date, my father died. No party.

It has stayed broken. Some traditions, once interrupted, just don’t make it back.
Mr. Monk, the feline guardian of the candles^, disappeared right after Hanukkah last year,

But we have the memories, and the stories are for as long as we remember to tell them. Like the story of that time long ago, when the Maccabees fought back and retook the temple and in the holy of holies the light of the Menorah shone again.

May your holiday lights shine bright


  1. Hugs to you, dear Mirka. May your memories always be bright.

  2. I am sorry to hear your parents’ deaths coincided with Chanukah, but I send you best wishes for a bright, light 8 days & a HAPPY CHANUKAH����

  3. Mirka, I loved seeing your pictures, reading your precious memories. We never think holiday traditions will break, but they do...it's so hard when your parents die. Sending you hugs. Perhaps your children will create new traditions as they begin their families. I hope you still make latkes.

    Our traditions broke when we moved--I miss our extended family esp. during the holidays, so am thankful for the church traditions that give us the stability we need. A happy Hannukah to you and yours. We also read the story of the Maccabees.

  4. I'm so sorry that this beautiful family tradition was disrupted by so much sorrow. I hope the day will come again when you can restore it, despite the sad memories.

  5. Dear sister, I had a few of those incidents.. In spite of what happened, think that your parents would love to see you happy on Hanoucka (and in general!). Celebrate their life along the holiday. Just bring the light back. Love.

    1. No worried, David. It is not dark here! Just the parties are gone.
      I light candles and feel grateful for the cats, as well as so many things my life is filled with.

    2. P.S. That^ should have been "No worries." Note to self: proofread before posting, or at least have another jelly donut to shore up typing fingers. :P

  6. This time of year seems to see a lot of loss. I’ve always wondered if it’s really more than other times during the year or if it just affects us more because of the holiday seasons. Either way, hugs to you, Mirka.

  7. Love and light to you, Mirka. The holidays can be so tough following losses. I hope you find new traditions and ways to celebrate.

  8. Having loved ones die near a significant day/holiday is tough since that day/holiday is never quite the same forever after. Glad you're still lighting the candles and counting your blessings.

  9. I'll never forget the wonderful 'Breen' annual Hanukka parties, as we used to call them. Broken, but not forgotten, as your mom, dad, and Monk will always be remembered. xoxoxo