Thursday, December 9, 2010

Some final Chanukah thoughts

Yesterday was the last night of Chanukah here in Israel.  I love the eighth night the best.  It's the night when the whole menorah is finally lit and there is a certain feeling of a mission accomplished and the sight doesn't upset my sense of symmetry ( we all have our ideosyncracies).  I love watching the dancing flames, as I try to imprint the image on my mind to carry me into the rest of the year.    But as much as I love this eighth day of Chanukah, there is always a sense of loss that goes with it.  No more rushing about with lights to prepare, no more Chanukah al hanisim, no more hallel( special thanksgiving prayer) everyday.  I try to savor the last few times I get to say all these things; they become more meaningful somehow.  What now, how can I just go back to the regular old hallel-less existance?   But it occured to me that the answer lies in the Chanukah holiday itself.  As much as one might yearn for constant light of endless inspiration and spiritual ecstasy, the truth is that this description would fit the Next world better than this one.  In this world, sometimes we have to walk in the dark, make new oil, appreciate and celebrate victories that are incomplete and smaller than we would have wanted and kindle new lights when the old ones die out.  Here, we have to take things step by step, one light at a time until we reach the ultimate distanation and then we get to see everything lit up together all at once.  But we do get these moments to light up the path for us, to give us a glimpse of great and dazzling heights that are possible,  to show that all we have to do is to put in our best effort and sincerely light even one tiny light and then, with G-d's help, this one true spark of holiness will ignite greater and greater lights that will lead us to where we have to go.  So as I look at the oily menorahs and sooty oil cups and glass boxes, I'll continue to dream of the miracles and victories and all the hallels to come.


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