Saturday, December 12, 2009

2nd candle: Tuning in to the Spirit of the holiday

The 8 blogs of Chanukah. Each night a new blog from the community of Congregation B'nai Israel.

Tonight, the second blog of Chanukah is brought to you by Laura Lehrhaupt.  Laura is a member of B'nai Israel, married to Michael (who is a regular on acoustic guitar with the B'nai Israel Band), with 3 children, Madison (one of our teenage cantorial soloists), Reuben, and Zoe.  Laura is a recent, wonderful addition to our Board of Trustees.

I have a menorah collection. It was started for me when my grandmother went on one of her trips to Israel and brought them back. That was at least fifteen years ago. Now my collection has doubled in size. Out of this collection came a great family tradition. Every night of Hannukah each one of my family members lights their own menorah. We all have our favorites. 

My daughter Zoe loves the menorah with the ceramic children on it. 
Madison often choses the penguin menorah. 
Reuben loves the little rabbi menorah. 
My husband always uses the one he brought with him from his childhood before we were married. I, of course, chose one from Israel.

What is so extraordinary is the light that shines from these menorahs is always so beautiful. It illuminates the entire room. It got me thinking about what the flame represents in our jewish traditions. Several prayers and many rituals refer to the flame being representative of our spirit or the soul of a beloved deceased friend or family member. I always loved the prayer at the beginning of the song “Papa can you hear me” from Yentl.

May the light of this flickering candle
Illuminate the night
the way your spirit illuminates my soul.

Someoneʼs spirit is not tangible. We canʼt literally see a spirit. We experience someoneʼs spirit. Like the heat from the flame. It warms us and surrounds us. It lights up the dark spaces and gives us a sense of comfort. Someone elseʼs spirit makes us experience another dimension not easily put into words. It is quick, powerful and usually you know when you encounter it. How many times have you thought to yourself “ What an amazing spirit!”

So this Hannukah, as we light all the candles on each of our menorahs, I am going to remember the wonderful people my family has had the honor of knowing. Of the people
who have added light and warmth to our home and given us gifts beyond any that can be bought. We will sing our original rendition of Hannukah songs as we watch the candles melt down to the end. Then I will clean out the wax and make room for more candles, more phenomenal spirits who will enrich our lives

No comments:

Post a Comment