A Grateful Light
Chanukah (Dec. 24-Dec. 31) is a holiday rich in Jewish history and traditions. Some refer to it as the Festival of Lights due to the lighting of Menorahs and the miracle relating to the oil. In the time of the Holy Temple, one jar of oil lasted eight days. This is also the reason for why the holiday lasts eight days.
This year, while I enjoy celebrating with family and friends and eating the symbolic foods of the holiday, including potato latkes (pancakes) and sufganiyot (fried donuts), I will remember a patient of mine who was a Holocaust survivor.
During our visits together, we used to discuss how difficult it was to display any type of Jewish pride or celebrations of the holidays. Such an overt display could have gotten her and her family killed.
As I reflect on those conversations, I remember the simple gestures of bringing her a menorah, playing dreidel (four-sided top) and bringing her some holiday treats.
We lit the candles and said the blessings together. We also sat by the lights of the menorah and shared stories. I am struck by the gratitude I feel about her entrusting me with her difficult and painful memories.
She has since died, and I know this year before I light my candles, I will be grateful for the light she brought to me and the sparks she left behind.
Learn more about JourneyCare's Jewish Care Services.