I think this is the first year in a while that I feel like I’m really celebrating Hanukkah it all of its joy and weirdness. Perhaps part of that feeling can be attributed to my celebrating it in Israel. On Tuesday night–the first night of Hannukah–on our way to Eric Gurevitz’s birthday party, we lit the candles and then walked to Rosa’s apartment who was hosting the event. On the way we played ‘spot the candles’ and tried to spot each and every window that had a hannukiah or candle. We passed a Yeshiva on the way to Emek Refaim and the dining room, which looked out onto the street, boasted hundreds of candles.
Perhaps you’re wondering why it’s such a big whoopla for people to put candles in windows. It’s not just that it looks pretty, but there’s a concept called ‘publicizing the miracle’ (pirsumei nisa), in lighting the Hanukkah candles. One of the miracles about the story of Hanukkah is that after rededicating the Temple, they found only one flask of oil to relight the Menorah, but the light from this flask of oil lasted eight days. So in current times, Jews are supposed to relive the miracle, as it were, by proudly broadcasting their own lights to the rest of the world. Continue reading