Pretending It's Not Dark
We hope to see you this Thursday, December 2, at 8:00 p.m. for our second annual Zoom candle lighting event. For the link, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s annual, because, as noted, this is the second time we are hosting this event, and we hope it will continue. For those of you on the call last year, it was our most successful Zoom event, as well as my personal favorite. Bring a menorah, or other candle if you’re so inclined. It’s lovely to watch people’s faces light up. It’s a kind of a Chanukah or Hanukkah or Hanukah event, or I think Larry would, from a transliteration perspective, more correctly write Khanike, or something like that. I am not sufficiently learned in Yiddish or in transliteration to know. I’ve always preferred a spelling with “ch.” That throat clearing sound feels important. It’s not a sound English speakers prefer, sounds too much like spitting. That’s kind of fun. Our Zoom party is al an all-purpose holiday event, like Festivus. Mostly it’s about light and sharing wishes. Whatever you choose to celebrate or not celebrate, we want to see you there.
Plus it is so dark this time of year. I hate it. By Thanksgiving I’m going insane. Right now it’s 4:20 p.m., and an afternoon walk is completely out of the question. When I was younger walking around in the twilight did not present as much of a visual challenge. So, I’m looking forward to spending a week lighting candles, and I like that this year Chanukah follows immediately after Thanksgiving this year. The idea of a close to winter weekend devoted pretty much entirely to light and to eating has a lot of appeal.
Otherwise, Chanukah does not appeal to me much. A holiday that celebrates a military victory does not resonate. Neither does a holiday that celebrates a supposed miracle. I don’t feel a need to compete with Christmas. Shopping in stores during a pandemic is a form of torture. I’d rather enjoy sharing in the celebration of those who do celebrate Christmas and have other people share with me the celebration of a holiday I actually enjoy like Sukkot or Passover.
Decades ago, when my children were young, the class mother asked if I wanted to “do Chanukah” for my daughter’s class. When I politely said that I would rather we not “do Chanukah” in school, or, if we felt a need to do a holiday for everyone then let me choose the one I’d like, or simply avoid celebrating anyone’s holidays in public school, she got angry, very angry, and said I wasn’t going to take away her Christmas. Thirty years later I still don’t really get it.
But I digress. Watching candles burn is mesmerizing. I so want to meet the almost all of you that I do not know in person; Zoom continuing to be the closest thing to in person for now. I want to hear your wishes. I want us all to have a lovely evening. Please come to our candle lighting Zoom event, whatever you may or may not choose to celebrate. It will make us so happy.
And I’ll close with my favorite Elton John song, beautiful and sad.