A Hanukkah Blog for Christians, Jews, Heathens, and Others...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On The First Day Of Hanukkah...

I don’t know if I’ll be able to come up with something brilliant and creative for eight days in a row but I’m inspired to try.

Hanukkah is one of my favorite celebrations, and not just because I like the feeling of seeing my dreidel tip over with the Gimmel on top. It’s a personal holiday for me. After all, my email address is HannukahLinda@... and some of you even call me that from time to time.

So, to kick off the Hanukkah Blog, I am going to re-post what I said a few years ago about how I got my email name. Here you go...


This Hannukah eve seems like as good a time as any to talk about my rather unusual email address: hannukahLinda... I mean, it's unusual for an Anglican. Hannukah is not, after all, on the liturgical calendar.

It started out as a fun nick-name that some of the students in Hebrew School called me. We sang a Ladino song entitled Ocho kandelikas and the very first line is Hannukah Linda esta aqui..., and so for a few weeks I became Hannukah Linda. Then an adult friend started joking around with it. And, I even called myself that a few times.

It was later, along about Tu B'Sh'vat I'd say, that I thought about the significance of Hannukh and saw it's relevance to me.

You all know the Hannukah story of Roman oppression, the resistance, desecration, and returning. If you don't, Google it. It's a grand story and I couldn't do it justice here on the blog.

But there's another story that only I can tell: my own. It's tale of oppression, resistance and failure, desecration and redemption. Like the real story of Hannukah there are some battles, and there's some blood, and there have been some times when it looked as if all was lost.


And what does God give me? A tiny little dab of Hannukah oil.

You have to go back a little bit to the time of exile. See, it's hard to celebrate Sukkas in a foreign land. You can't shake the lulav in a state of oppression. So, the Hebrews had been having a hard time of it. They'd been in exile, treated like animals. Sukkot -- the days of our joy -- was not a present reality. But, the Hebrews remembered, and they longed for the sweetness of the etrog, the rustle of the palm and myrtle.

And what did God give them? A dab of oil.

For re-dedicating the temple, cleansing it and making it ready, God gave them one little dab of oil. Hardly enough.

But there was something in the Hebrews who re-took the temple, something in me too, and I am guessing in all of us. It's a little voice that says, "Light it anyway... see what happens."

For me, I've had some things to reclaim, some cleansing to do in my own life. But, every time I light the oil I have, no matter how small, it's enough. Dayenu!

The oil that God had tucked away in the temple burned for eight days, same number as Sukkot. Dayenu!.

Hannukah is not one of the major festivals. It's not all that spiritual. But, for me, it means that God has given me everything I need to cleanse the temple, to get myself ready for a new regime. Hannukah means that the days of my oppression are over and that Sukkot -- the days of my joy -- have been restored!

Hannukah makes new, and ready. In some ways, it's the perfect way to observe Advent. Hannukah is proof that even my own desecrated life can be restored.

The first words of the Hanerot Halalu, said while lighting the Hannukah candles are:

We light these lights
For the miracles and the wonders,
For the redemption and the battles...

So for my own battles, the miracles, and the wonders I've seen, for the redemption and cleansing I've experienced, all I can say is Nes Gadol Hayah Po, a great miracle happened here.


  1. Happy Hanukkah, Lindy! I hope that your journey to China will be another cleansing part of your life. What a gift you are to us!

  2. Lindy! This is so great to read and now that I think of it, I do remember the connection to ocho kandelikas!

    Hannukah joy!!