My Pre-Chanukah Gloom

My Pre-Chanukah Gloom

This morning, after a challenging interaction with a family member, I felt so upset. LIke even the things in my family I thought were going well–well, they aren’t.
So I decided to cheer myself up (or at least take a breather from crying) with a walk through the forest.
Oh, it was so beautiful out there, the trees, the hills, the picturesque village of Ein Kerem in the distance.
After walking for about 20 minutes, I veered a little off the trail and sat down on a bench. It was hard to breathe, despite the expansive beauty, feeling like the whole world was sitting on my ribcage like that.
And my mind wandered to the story about Adam, who right around this time of year, right before Chanukah, noticed the days were getting shorter and shorter, and he thought that because he’d messed things up so terribly, the world was reverting to void and darkness, and that he was about to die. And for 8 days only words of prayer passed through Adam’s lips, as he fasted and prayed for his life.
Oy, it’s true, Adam. These days leading up to Chanukah are hard, dark days.
And then I looked up from my bench and I noticed a hawk hovering overhead. Floating around. Riding the air currents.
And I thought, I could do that. Transcend. Rise above it all.
“But wouldn’t that be denial?” something inside my growled.
“Nah, not denial. Rising above would mean getting a glimpse of the big picture,” I didn’t growl back.
And then a song bubbled up within me. “Oz v’Hadar Levusha, v’tischak l’yom achron.” The Woman of Valour. Clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs until the final day.
And as I sang that song to myself, I started to feel the weight of the world floated off my ribcage. Like that hawk.
And I started walking back the way I had come. And I remembered the end of that story about Adam. How he noticed, the day after the winter equinox, that the days were starting to get the slightest bit longer (it must have been December 22nd, which is, cool, the first day of Chanukah this year.) And Adam celebrated the growing light’s return for 8 days and 8 nights. And he thought “That’s just how the world works. Sometimes it gets dark, so dark, but it always gets light again.”

6 comments

  1. What is the source for this story of Adam? I have never heard of it…

  2. Mina Gordon

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that Chanukah begins in the second half of the month, when the moon (which the Jews are compared to) is getting smaller. All other Jewish holidays at least begin in the first half of the month, or on the 15th, when the moon is at its fullest.
    He explains that when the moon is disappearing from our sight this is because it is getting closer to its Source. It looks as if its light is diminishing, but in actuality it is being recharged.
    And out of the darkness comes a greater and stronger light.
    Thus it is fitting that the Festival of Light begins in the dark time of the month and the dark time of the year.

  3. Your words are so honest, your imagery so real, and they touched me deeply. love this. May Hashem give you every strength you need to soar

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