Every year, I am tasked with the cleaning and polishing of my family’s menorah. For approximately 30 minutes, it’s my responsibility. But I don’t mind. For I am blessed with the time to reflect on the past eight nights.
As I scrape:
I picture my joy in watching my three-and-a-half-year-old grandson, Carson, repeating the words, “Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam,” as he stares into the candle’s flames;
I am blessed.
I recall asking two questions on the eighth night:
“Why are the flames the those two yellow candles almost 3″ in height?”
“Should I have not heeded the warning on the wooden candle box?
“Candle wicks should be trimmed to 1/4 inch before burning;”
I am inquisitive.
I ask, “Is this a good sign or an omen?” Not knowing the symbolic meaning of large flames coming off of Chinese beeswax candles;
I am puzzled.
I remember my son, Jason, chastising me, “Dad, you’ve got to alternate the colors of the candles, red, blue, yellow — red, blue, yellow!” He’s so adamant as if he is quoting biblical laws and holding multicolored vials of pure olive oil;
I am blessed.
Before I scrub, I study the melted wax formations found on the base of my Hanukkiah. My eyes see a calm sea, as blue as Lake Kinneret touching green pastures;
I am imaginative.
Every night for approximately 30 minutes, I watch the candles melt away, betting on which one will burn out first. It is not as exciting as spinning a dreidel but trust me it is fun;
I am creative.
Why do I watch the candles from when they are lit till G-d’s hand snuffs out their flame? Because on the candle box it admonishes the user: WARNING — Never leave burning candles unattended;
I am compliant.
As I polish my family’s menorah:
I remember lighting it with my long-gone parents. Theirs flames snuffed out but my loving memories burning as bright as ever;
I am love.
My Hanukkiah consists of two standing, roaring, silver lions holding a reflective arrowhead-shaped shield and topped off by a Star of David;
I am proud.
I observe that the arrowhead-shaped shield reflects the beautiful flame of one of the lit candles;
I am observant.
I see that attached to one of the lion’s tails is the cup that holds the shamash. The “servant” candle that lights all the other candles;
I am servile to this “Festival of Lights.”
To this miracle of eight nights.
To this Maccabean fight for rights.
For I am a dedicated, blessed, proud, observant and loving Jew.