My Chanukah Kiss by Naomi

My Chanukah Kiss by Naomi

If you would have asked me yesterday, the 7th day of Chanuka, how Chanuka has been, I would have probably said something like, “Not so great.”

I’ve been ill for the entire holiday. Nothing serious, G-d forbid, just a heavy cold, fever, infected sinuses and, today, an ear infection.

My girls and I have spent the whole week at home, except for the occasional break for doctors appointments. Today, after seeing my blood tests, the doctor gave me a wad of prescriptions for antibiotics, ear drops, nose drops, vitamins etc. etc… Yay. Then I walked home and felt really lousy. What a Chanuka! I started to feel seriously fed up, no parties, no big family get-togethers, no outings with the kids as I had promised them…

I came home from the doctor this afternoon, not in the mood to be bombarded with requests by a bunch of hungry children and somehow managed to get myself into bed. I was in pain from my ear infection and all I could think of was the ibuprofen kicking in and getting some much needed sleep.

I woke up about an hour later to the sound of my husband and kids singing Maoz Tzur and dancing around the house. I couldn’t believe I’d slept through candle lighting.

Every day, despite feeling unwell, I managed to go downstairs to watch my husband and son light the menorahs at the entrance of our building, and then we’d all come upstairs and the girls would light candles on the window sill of the living room.

Now, they were all done…By they time I arrived, there was nothing left. No candles. No singing. No candles set up for the next day of Chanukah because there is no next day of Chanukah. The last night of Chanuka and I’d missed it.

I sat on the sofa looking at the lifeless menorahs when my husband told me he was taking the kids to pick up some food because his sister and her family would be coming soon. I remembered hearing something about them visiting a few days before, but then this morning my husband told me that when they had heard that I wasn’t well they had changed their minds about coming.

Now, apparently (strangely) their plans had changed and they would be coming from out of town. My family got everything set up while I rested on the sofa, cuddling some of the younger kids. Before we knew it, there was a knock on the door, they had arrived.

And then.. a miracle. My brother-in-law started taking out their menorahs. My husband decided to light again, this time on the porch, and within a few minutes I was looking at 4 fully-lit menorahs, including our beautiful oil menorah.

Oh, how I enjoyed looking at those dancing flames and uttering my silent prayers in the midst of a wonderful family Chanuka party.

I once heard that the small miracles that happen in our lives are like a kiss from Hashem, and that’s how I felt tonight.

As though Hashem was whispering in my ear, “Never despair. Even when it seems impossible that light will come again… it will.”

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6 comments

  1. We have been sick at my house too. Kids throwing up has significantly put a damper on most of my festive plans. And on the 4th day my grandmother passed away. But just like Naomi said, when I look back there were “kisses from HaShem”. Lighting the menorah with my children, softening from relatives that usually don’t participate and quiet moments of peace have been hidden within the louder struggle to keep everything going and deal with life. I found joy that didn’t come from anything but HaShem’s goodness. May it last me all year long and my HaShem bestow it on all of us who long for His peace in our lives.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother, baruch dayan haemet…

      what you describe is what rabbanit Yemima calls “the chesed within the nisayon”–the Divine kindness within the test. The little kisses from Hashem at our darkest moments telling us, it might be dark, but I’m still here.

  2. That is a beautiful way to think of it, thank you. I so enjoy Her teaching. Thank you for sharing it with me.

    • this idea about small personal miracles being a kiss comes from Harav Chaim Shmulevitz

  3. Wow! Thank you for the reminding me to look at life with chanukah eyes…

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