The Truth about my Chanukah

The Truth about my Chanukah

The definition of a nudnick, someone once quipped, is a person who, when you are passing him on the street and throw him a casual “How ya doin’,” actually stops you to tell you the truth.

So this morning, when Yaakov’s ganenet asked me in passing how my Chanukah was, I told her, with as big a smile as I could muster that, “It was REALLY FUN!!!”

But I can’t lie to you, JewishMOM.

Chanukah, for me, was really hard. All my kids were home for the entire week, and my parents were also visiting. And, of course, I love my kids and I love my parents. And there were a lot of special moments– making a surprise birthday party for Josh, sitting by my candles every night and thinking deep thoughts, seeing my parents enjoying my children.

But not only the sufganiot were fried this Chanukah, I myself felt deep fried as well. I was so exhausted from dealing with everyone (and especially right after Josh’s 2-week trip abroad) that I felt like I just couldn’t feel anything anymore. Like nothing in the world could make me feel happy. Nuuumb.

B”H, on Shabbat I was able to spend 3 hours locked in my bedroom reading and resting, and when I came out, I felt good again for the first time all Chanukah. And b”H that good feeling has continued.

But my blaaah Chanukah experience reminded me of something I once learned.

The Sefer HaYashar teaches that in life we experience “Days of Love” and “Days of Hate.” We all love our days of love– when life feels inspiring and exciting. And we hate the days of hate–when life feels challenging, like pulling teeth, like putting one foot in front of the other– no inspiration or excitement anywhere in our hearts or on the horizon. And on top of feeling low we feel guilty for not feeling as happy and grateful as we think we should at all times for the precious blessings every Jewish mother has received.

But the truth is that Hashem grants us more Divine reward for the good deeds and mitzvot we manage to do on those tough, blaaah days when we have to force ourselves to get off the sofa to take care of our children and be nice to our parents and clean up the hurricane-mess before our husbands trip through the front door.

And another thing I heard is that when we are going through days of hate, the days of love are not far behind. So when you are feeling blaah, just hold tight and know your smile is right around the corner:)


  1. Oh I so get this. We’ve still got one more day of vacation. I was at my parents instead of the other way around. I’m going to write a blog soon about my own insights. Thanks, so nice to feel validated!!

  2. Just perfect.
    So real.

  3. I really thought I was the only one (well, almost the only one) who struggled with Chanukah. Thank you for validating and inspiring. Words of wisdom to remember.

  4. Very encouraging and thorough! I love to read other Jewish moms insights! Thank you Chana Jenny!

  5. Thank you for sharing your struggles!
    Here in the states we have school on most of Chanukah and winter vacation three weeks later
    But I grew up in Israel where winter vacation IS Chanukah
    Pros and cons both ways 😉

    • Here in out if town states, we had off the whole Chanukah because of other holidays which coincided this year

  6. I really enjoyed this post. We feel extra guilty if we think we should be able to enjoy our time together with family and we are having trouble getting through the day. In retrospect it is a major brocha to have parents well enough to travel to Israel and a lovely family for them to have nachas from. Just keeping the show going with meals and entertainment for kids on vacation can be super stressful. As a teacher we used to joke that the parents celebrate when the kids get back to school!

  7. Tobi Berger

    Love this and love that u know what u need to fix the low… quiet time for u and your books and your self… I need to take
    Heed of that advice!!!!!! Taking action is key!!! Thanks for sharing

    • thanks tobi, so nice to hear from you!! my daughter has a girl in her class from Zichron yaakov, so was thinking of you:)

  8. If there is such a thing as a “week of hate” then I think I had one of those! Thanks for sharing this. Glad I am not alone

  9. One more week until a full week of winter break in the bitter cold……gearing up! Hope we enjoy our time together, bonding time, projects, baking, an outing or two to prevent cabin fever…..etc. Of course there will be difficult moments, but it is still bonding time, making memories. These days of opportunity don’t last forever…….may we all make the most of it according to our abilities. Best of luck 😊!

  10. Before I went back to work my worst days were Shabbat and yom Tov and any other holiday where my “freedom” was compromised by kids at home. Now that I work full time this has reversed almost completely! I still stress out on chagim but it comes from a different place….. I’m happy to be home myself, even if it’s still work.

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