When I first started back on my journey to reclaim Judaism, I distinctly remember the first Hanukkah I lit candles. Not only was I bringing light into the literal darkness of night, I was also kindling the divine spark within myself. Each night I walked through a meditation I had created using the letters of the word Hanukkah, since there were eight letters and eight nights. I remember some of the words I had assigned to the nights: Holiness, Attentiveness, Night, Understand, Knowledge and Keep. I can’t remember the rest, but I do remember feeling the calm of the candlelight and the deepness of the meditation. I also remember that at some point, either I missed a night of lighting or I repeated one night twice because the days were officially over, and I still hadn’t lit all eight candles.
That has happened to me twice since I returned to Judaism. Yes, twice. Maybe three times. Oh, I don’t know. Now every time the festival approaches I worry that I’m going to do it again. I’m constantly rechecking the calendar so that I am certain I know which night we are on and so that I don’t miss one. I know it sounds like a mundane worry. Yet, in many ways Judaism works on turning the mundane into the holy. This was clearly a lesson on the ways in which the routine of life had too much control over me. Continue reading “I Missed a Day Again: Reflections on Hanukkah by Ivy Helman”