December 2020 — unlike any other that we can recall. Regarding the vaccine(quite possibly more than one), we all know that ‘help is on the way.’ In the meantime, we hope and pray for a peaceful and orderly governmental transition, and — perhaps, more daunting— the ability and desire to heal deep wounds felt by many.
The Decembers of my childhood area bout my birthday and about dreidel games run by my dad, may he rest in peace, and they’re about latkes. Looking forward to Hanukkah I certainly yearn for latkes and a dreidel spin or two — those are still cherished and important. But there is this other layer, something more foundational — for each of us.
When the light of the candles chases the darkness, we know that there is much darkness in our world. And many struggle— for shelter, for food, for a safe harbor.We’re trying to make our way through a plague, and we’re not quite out of the woods. Words like resolve and dedication remind us that there’s plenty of work ahead building trust, fixing broken things. Broken lives, broken laws, broken communities. There’s work to do. In the haftarah for Shabbat and Hanukkah (from Zachariah — a bar mitzvah haftarah I share with Hillel Kaplan), we read ‘not by might, not by power — but by My spirit, says God.’ May we find comfort in the melodies, joy in the games, culinary delight in the treats, and faith and resolve in the season. Light the flame, chase the darkness, dedicate ourselves to the tasks ahead.