Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Let There Be Light


There is something powerful about bringing light into darkness.

When I was growing up in Jerusalem, Hanukah held special charms for me. My family was not religious, and Hanukah is “religion-light” in that all work is permitted and there is little by way of ritual, save the nightly lighting of candles.

And so it was less of an exterior event, and more of an interior one. Hanukah happened at home. This suited me and mine just fine. In Israel at that time there was nary a hint of the competition with Christmas, so ubiquitous in the USA.

When my kids were little we had a yearly Hanukah party, and shamelessly did compensate for our no-Christmas home with presents and decorations I never saw in my own childhood in Israel.

But I returned to my roots. Hanukah is no more party-time, or presents time, or any other whoopty-doo time. Hanukah is, once again, the smell of frying latkes and most of all, candles. If nothing else, the pandemic returned all of us home, and reminded us how this is our anchor.

A slight modification (because my roaming ever-curious cats will surely burn their whiskers) requires strategic placing of the menorah. We don’t get to put it in the widow, as is customary. But candles it is.

Their charm is undeniable.

“...One for each night

They shed a sweet light

To remind us for days long ago.”

From Hanukah Oh Hanukah

{Last year’s 8th night^. Hanukah this year begins the evening of Thursday, December 10 and ends the evening of Friday, December 18}


Kelly Hashway said...

It's a few days early, but Happy Hanukkah!

Vijaya said...

So lovely. Happy Hanukkah. I love the story and indeed even one little candle can dispel the darkness.

Katie L. Carroll said...

Happy Hanukkah! Wishing you much light.

Evelyn said...

Thank you, Mirka, for sharing your own experiences with Hanukah, both growing up and later and now. The symbolism of light is such a good one and something the whole world needs right now. May your Hanukah be a blessed one this year.

We are: Clamco said...

Happy Hanukkah! I love that you refer to it as and interior event. My little family rejected the "commercial" Christmas years ago and scaled waaaay down on presents and focused more on presence.

Mirka Breen said...

I still like presents (anytime, Thank You ;} ) but presence is far more gratifying for holidays.

Barbara Etlin said...

Happy Hanukkah, MIrka!

Your mentioning potato latkes reminds me of my father, who liked them so much that, year round, our cousin H would stay up late at night to make them for him if we were due to visit her the next day. He didn't want to inconvenience her like that, so he stopped warning her about an impending visit.

I stopped indulging in them years ago, but I did buy some wrapped Hanukkah chocolate coins. For us, it's all about the chocolate.

Janie Junebug said...

Beautifully written, dear heart.