My last blog post was in August - when I was "still waiting". And in many ways, I still am. But all that waiting got in the way of moving on. It got in the way of sending out a Rosh Hashanah mailing (and oh how I missed your good new year wishes in response). It got in the way of fully enjoying the holidays. It got in the way of seeing how much kindness and generosity has come out of this pandemic and in how many ways I'd like to think I'm growing as a result of it.
A wonderful and very wise woman who I am honored to count among my readership, commented on my last post. She said: "I hope that I can say that I am mitzapeh for the geulah (await/anticipate the final redemption), but there are so many things of beauty that surround me every moment that in truth this takes up most of the space."
In short: Lighten Up, Sharon.
I accepted her gentle rebuke but didn't actually do anything about it until now.And what better time to Lighten Up than Chanuka? The Chanuka hymn that we sing as we light our menorahs states: "k'day l'hodos u'l'hallel..." - we celebrate Chanuka in order to thank and praise G-d for all His miracles, wonders and salvation. It doesn't say "...except during a pandemic". Because even under lockdown, in quarantine, masked and socially distanced there are miracles, wonders and salvation everywhere. Yes, even here, even now. Which reminds me of my Chanuka POem, written in 2003, revisited on this blog eleven years ago, revised and updated below.
But first, how are you? I hope you're finding ways to stay simultaneously safe and sane. Unemployed since corona came around, I've been keeping busy with small projects, volunteer work, being available for the grandkids and...Trying not to eat up the profits lest I have a whole 'nother kind of Lightening Up to do ;-)
If you know me at all then you surely do know
that at Chanuka time I loved being PO.
PO, of course, means here, which I am
but "here" is only POetic in our holy Land.
In Israel, the dreidel knows just what to say:
Nes Gadol Haya PO*! which is spelled with a pey.
But here we say "there" which is so much less fun.
Here, the pey on the dreidel's a shin as in shom.
Here, everything's all lit up green and red. "Seasonal" tunes are forced into my head. There, the streets are aglow with menorahs at night
and the sufganiyot are a month-long delight.
Yes, I’m here now, not there. (Or am I “there” now – not “here”?)
But wherever I am, the memories are clear.
If I’ll just close my eyes, I will see once again
Chanuka lights of the Land, all a'bren**.
And I won't let corona get in the way
of the happiness built into this holiday.
I will speak words of thanks and sing songs of praise
to Hashem on each one of these eight special days,
recalling the time when those nissim*** took place
and the re-dedication of our holiest space.
We can all celebrate any place that we are
because, in our hearts, we are never too far
from the Light that will draw us back Home very soon,
a light brighter still than the sun or the moon.
Let us hope that Mashiach arrives any dayso that all of our dreidels next year will say pey.