Since 1978, the fifth day of Hannukah has transformed itself from the carefree delight and magic of childhood to the subdued moment of sad memory. On the fifth day of Hannukah, my father died.
Thus, the flickering shadows of the fifth light fuse into the dancing reflection of a yahrzeit lamp ; miracle and memory merge.
The number five brings to mind the books of the Torah, five in all. As Torah teaches, so do fathers. Those who are scholarly instruct their sons in actual Torah; those without formal education, convey matters less of the intellect and more of the heart.
My father, a working man all his life, shared with me the lessons of a grateful and contented soul. Beyond the Torah of a simple life, he taught his children the Torah of decency, hard work, and respect for others. His proudest pedagogy was the love of melody and song. His wonderful tenor voice filled our home with sacred sounds- those of the prayer book, opera and popular song.
Not a moment goes by today without my mind echoing resonance of the singing voice.
On each and every fifth night of Hannuka I say thank you to my dad. May his memory continue to adumbrate with melody.