Darkness greets us at dawn in December. The morning winds begin, the trees sway, the birds hover above the frozen ground and we carry on, adjusting – ignoring the chilly gusts that seem to whisper something new each morning. There is much to ponder in winter’s glare and shadows.
We can’t do much without light, and the gray sky that appears in November and often lasts until April sometimes feels like a steel trap. Where is the light, we wonder? The question will linger through the winter, but is never quite answered.
But for eight nights in December – starting Thursday, Dec. 7 – the light finds us after sunset. It’s in our homes, our synagogues, in public displays in malls, and stores, and even on City Hall lawns. The menorah, which is rarely mentioned throughout the year, suddenly takes center stage during Hanukkah. We light the candles, say the blessings, and then stop and stare at the mystical flames.
If we take a moment, and focus on the radiance, the moment can be powerful. The light can seemingly transport us anywhere our soul desires.
In the quiet of the darkness, the light brings us hope. It is a modest set of flames. And sometimes when we stare, another miracle can occur. If we are quiet for a few minutes, and look at the light long enough, our thoughts can cease – at least for a second or two.
At that point, we’re left with an inexplicable, otherworldly feeling. If we hold onto it, perhaps the light can continue on the darkest winter days. Θ