Friday, December 12, 2008
GRATEFUL FOR CHANUKAH
Chanukah is in the air-You can't avoid it even though its actual celebration doesn't begin until Sunday night, Dec.21. Newspapers and other media have already announced its imminent arrival to help us prepare for the holiday and to promote the "business" of Chanukah.
Thus my thoughts too turn to Chanukah, as an occasion for spiritual insight and growth.
A fovorite poet of mine, one I have quoted extensively, writes the following words:
Instructions for living a life:
TELL ABOUT IT
(Red Bird, Mary Oliver)
In seven words I believe that this extraordinary poet captured the essence of Chanukah.
PAY ATTENTION-When kindling the Chanukah lights, we are enjoined to observe the lights, without the gain of any practical use."We may not put them to ordinary use, but are to look upon them and be reminded to thank and to praise..."
BE ASTONISHED-"...for the wondrous miracle of our deliverance." Are we not to be astonished not only on Chanukah but everyday for our deliverance, for living each day successfully and being able to expect the next one?
TELL ABOUT IT- One of the prominent characteristics of Chanukah is the invitation of the tradition to publicize the miracle-"pirsumah nisah." Unlike so any other Mitzvot which are performed in a less public manner, Chanukah is different. We are enjoined to tell about the miraculous, to share the wonder of Chanukah and life as a whole.
Not to arrogantly announce but to humbly and gratefully communicate through words and deeds.
Since there are eight days of Chanukah, I hope to consider more dimensions of spiritual value connected to this popular yet historically "minor" holiday.