“At this time of year, when the sun is most hidden, the holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the rays of hope and light… We yearn for the sun, and the light and the warmth that it provides. Often, it is through simple and unrecognized miracles that we are able to feel the warmth of hope and light.” ~Rabbi Rafael Goldstein
Whether it’s oil lasting eight days, the birth of a baby or the sun beginning to shed a little more light on each day, winter is the season of miracles. Celebrations of Hanukkah, the winter solstice and Christmas arrive almost simultaneously this year. The first day of winter (the solstice) is Dec. 21, which is also the sixth night of Hanukkah. The eighth and final night of Hanukkah – Dec. 24 – coincides with Christmas Eve this year. Christmas Day stands alone.
Our local and statewide miracle – and gift – is the rain. Thus far, the 2014-15 rainy season that extends from July 1 through June 30 stands at 6.26 inches. We are on our way…
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, began at sundown on Tuesday night. It is considered more historical than religious in nature. During the second century B.C., the Jewish people, led by the Maccabees, were victorious over their Greek-Syrian oppressors. After a hard-fought battle, the Second Temple was rededicated. A menorah was to be lit and burn for eight nights. As recorded in the Talmud, oil was scarce and the supply not adequate to keep the flame lit for the duration. But, miraculously, the menorah burned for eight days.
In modern day Israel, most menorahs have candles. Outdoor displays are often protected from wind and rain in special weatherproof glass box enclosures.
One more storm moves through tonight (Thursday), with a slight chance for showers. A gift of clear skies and mild days are given us through Christmas and the final days of Hanukkah.
I love when this happens. While looking at greeting cards at the local Hallmark store, a particular one caught my eye. I suppose it could be considered a Christmas card, but to me it went well beyond. On the front was a wintry snow scene, including a cabin tucked among the trees. Snowflakes, Star of David-shaped, fell softly upon the landscape. Framed by the cabin’s window stood a Christmas tree …with a star.
“Chag Urim Sameach!”
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.