I grew up loving this holiday – until I learned the dark side and felt like a kid discovering that there’s no Santa Claus. It turns out Hanukkah is, in part, a tale of Jew vs. Jew.
According to Rashi, we light Hanukkah candles to “publicize the miracle.” What exactly is the miracle we’re publicizing – and what’s the best way for us to do so today?
The Hebrew word Hanukkah means “dedication” and refers to the joyous eight-day celebration through which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “rededication” of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Sometimes we create our own traditions, sometimes we carry on a tradition we inherit, and sometimes a tradition can come from unexpected places.
Now that my daughter is in preschool, I've come to realize that hearing about cultural and religious practices directly from the practitioners only emphasizes our otherness.
We always lit two menorahs at Hanukkah: One used candles; the other was electric, with bright orange bulbs. That second one became a precious symbol of life and light.