Years ago I found an article in the Chicago Jewish News that laid out eight gifts for Chanukah, none of which cost a thing. I don’t know the author; I wish I did. But for at least a decade, our children have heard one of these every night, in no particular order. Sometimes it was the only gift they got, but even if there was something to unwrap, they got these gifts first.
Tonight, the gift of FAMILY
This is the other part of your roots, the groundedness you get when you know who you are and whose example you can follow. This is what can make you feel suffocated and free, alone and never alone. This is your blessing. This is your four beloved grandparents, whether alive or not. This is the aunts and uncles and cousins that seem endless, but are so dear to us, that every chance we get, we gather together. This is the other departed members of our family that you hear us talk about. This is what you will be to your children. This is the crowd around the menorah and the table on Shabbat. This is growing up in a setting where we try hard every day to show you how a husband and wife, a grandparent and a parent and a child should treat each other.
Chag orim sameach; Happy Chanukah
Something new this year (and hopefully for the last time): On the third night, the Women of the Wall has asked that all around the world, we use tonight’s candle to spread the light of equality and dignity. Currently, the man in charge of the Wall plaza, Rabbi Rabinowitz, refuses to allow women to light the lights of Chanukah in public at the Wall. Read more here, but they’re asking us to take a photo of us lighting the 3rd candle, send it in, and stand with the women who will be exercising their right to celebrate the miracle of Chanukah tonight. I’ll be doing this. Will you join with me?