On the first night of Hanukkah, my husband came home with a placemat that says, Everyone is a Light. In Hebrew it reads, כל אחד הוא אור.
The mat is meant to catch the wax that drips from the Hanukkiyot we light each night. But I didn’t want to ruin it. Instead, I placed it at the center of the table next to the window where we light our Hanukkiyot. It’s a reminder that as much as we remember the historical miracle at the time of the Maccabees, that one cruze of oil can last for eight days, this Hanukkah I am thinking about how each member in our family, and in the family of humanity, can be the embodiment of light.
I think about the ways we enlighten each other.
How we help each other see things in new ways and shed light on what we hadn’t noticed before. Every time I assume that there is one (obvious!) way of seeing things, a member of my family will share their read on a situation.
I think about the ways we add fire to situations; how we can add heat and energy to cold and static places. Sometimes this fire is destructive when it is outsized for the space it is meant to fill. I think about how the fiery energy we can bring into our families gets bigger and bigger and what forces can cool the embers.
I also notice how the light from the candles can add physical warmth. The light can change the atmosphere in the room from one that is unwelcoming to one that invites connection.
A few times during Hanukkah, I try to sit for 20 minutes in front of the candles and watch them burn down. I contemplate the meaning of the lights, see what they evoke in me and also meditate on the qualities of my children in that moment. Ayeka? Where am I now with them? Where do I want to be? Where are they? And how can my interactions and connection with them bring more insight, fire or physical warmth?
Wishing you all a light filled continuation of Hanukkah!
Chag Urim Sameach! (Happy Lights of Hanukkah!)