NOW WE KINDLE THE CANDLES – Hanukkah – by Rabbi Baruch Cohon
Haneyrot ha-lalu anakhnu madleekeen – My old Hanukkah record sings itself anew every year in Hebrew or in English or both. The gifted Israeli bandleader and multimedia artist, David Yakobian, who made the original recording with me, remains my good friend. Like other Jews the world over, we and our families look forward to celebrating these 8 days and the miraculous survival they recall.
So we kindle the candles… *
This year, as usual, we look for friends in other parts of the human race who can join in our celebration. One historic event climaxed in Washington recently at the White House Hanukkah reception, as the U.S. Government officially acknowledged Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. Thus a friendly administration agrees that Eer haKodesh – the Holy City – is central to Jewish life for some 3,000 years and to the modern Jewish State for at least 68. How this decision will be implemented remains to be seen. But all Jews can welcome the spirit of this policy, and join in lighting a candle.
Remember the order of our candles. We place them in the Menorah starting on the extreme right. That’s the first night. Every night after that, we add a candle, increasing by one each night and setting them in place from right to left. Then we light them, from left to right. Always light the new one first. Every day is a new experience, hopefully a new miracle, a new prayer of gratitude for freedom.
Next Monday when eight flames send their combined message of joy to the world outside, let’s join in the faith that miracles from Heaven do not stop. As our Maccabees found just enough oil to burn for one night – and it burned for eight – so let our world alliances and our religious and national strength live and increase.
She-hekhe-yonnu v’kee-y’monnu v’higiyonnu laz’man ha-zeh. “Thank G-d for our life and our sustenance to reach this time.”
*Music for the song can be found in the book “Songs for my People” p.40 (available from this writer)