Sunday, December 6, 2015

Chanukah Reflections

The Holiday of Chanukah starts tonight, and I will now take a break from cooking my 8-hour chicken soup (yes, really!) to share a poem I wrote a couple of years ago. As we enter what is loosely called The Holiday Season, there is no denying the amount of darkness currently present in the world, and no better time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday that specifically celebrates light.

One question that I particularly want to ponder today, as some of our cultural outlets seem to go out of their way to diminish the significance of both tradition and prayer. In the story of Chanukah, throughout history, and in our present day, who are the heroes? The warriors who fight to preserve our way of life, or the spiritual and cultural leaders who keep it alive and undiluted after the battle is won? And in the final analysis, in the judgment of history, must there be a dichotomy between the two? Feel free to comment below.

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Come gather my friends on this Holiday night
Consider the story of Chanukah lights

Ages ago, the Hebrews took fight
To an arrogant ruler who denied them their rights

The warriors battled and won their glory
But that wasn’t all; just the start of our story

Their Temple, alas, had been damaged and looted
With idols inside, its spirit polluted

The Jews went to work. They cleaned and they polished
Swept up the debris of the idols demolished

But as they looked around, the Jews realized
They still were not done, for a Temple needs light

While oil for lamps wasn’t hard to procure
The Priests had insisted it had to be pure

They searched for a while, and soon with delight
Have found the oil, enough for one night

The rest of the story you know by now
The Priests lit the lamp with the oil they found

And then, in defiance of doubt and hate
A day’s worth of oil burned brightly for eight

The story is old, but the spirit remains
I hope it helps you in darkest of days

When the wolf’s at the door and your dreams fall apart
Remember this lesson and take it to heart

Just one simple thought from this Holiday night:
When you stand on conviction, you will always find light.

Dedicated to all the folks out there fighting the good fight.
You know who you are.