Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jacob's First Chanukkah

Dear friends,

This post is by my oldest daughter, Mary. 

First Chanukkah

by Mary 

Two blue candles stand stoically in the menorah, like guards of the night--the Shamash (servant) candle in the middle, and the one on the far right end. (We won't laugh too hard thinking of how Daddy almost lit the carpet on fire with a wayward match.) You gaze at their flickering flames, transfixed by their warm glow.

You are five months old, ensconced in warm fleece pajamas embroidered with a tractor and pine trees. You are wearing one fuzzy striped sock--the other you must have pulled off in your sleep.

Freshly home from work, Daddy reads the first blessing from his Siddur in a low voice.  
Barukh Atta Adonay Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam Asher Kiddeshanu Be-mitsvotav Ve-tsivanu Lehadlik Ner Shel khanuka
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.

Beginning to stir from the deep calm you slipped into while nursing moments ago, you start to tug on the remaining sock.
Barukh Atta Adonay Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam She-asa Nissim La-avoteynu Ba-yyamim Ha-hem Ba-zzman Ha-zze

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.

A cool breeze enters through the kitchen door. Your round cheeks appear like a sculpture in the light. Your eyes move ever so slightly up and down to survey the scene. You are taking it all in.  
Barukh Atta Adonay Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam She-hekheyanu Ve-kiymanu Ve-higgi'anu La-zzman Ha-zze

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this time.

Daddy and I have lived another year, moved to another home, celebrated another year of marriage. And this year, you are with us. Next year you will be walking, talking, calling me Mama. This year, you sit cuddled in my lap, turning into my chest for security. I squeeze you tightly.

Far past midnight, the moments dwindle. It is late and early. It is the beginning of many years to come. You will learn about the brave men and women who fought for the right to worship the Father and witnessed the miracle at the temple re-dedication. But for now, we soak up the warmth of the candles, basking in their glow.

Chag Chanukkah Sameach. Happy Chanukkah, Jacob.

Virginia Knowles

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