2008/12/20

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 Ladino a 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'Shevat I'd say, that I thought about the significance of Hannukh and saw it's realavance 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 some times when it looked as if all was lost.

Seriously.

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

See, here's the thing, it's hard to celebrate Sukkas in a foreign land. The Hebrews were having a hard time of it. You can't shake the lulav in a state of oppression, after all. 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 Sham, a great miracle happened here.

So, now that you know why I love Hannukah:

“Spin your dreidels, eat some latkes, and have some Hanukkah Gelt,
a Hannukkah Gelt Martini that is”.

hanukkah_gelt.jpg

Hanukkah Gelt Martini

2 parts chilled potato vodka
1 part Goldschlager

Combine in a shaker with ice, mix gently and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Serve with Hanukkah Gelt - what else?

L’Chaim!

Hat tip to Drink Of The Week.

And, while you're throwing that back, enjoy a little cool Hannukah Swing from our man Kenny Ellis:



Yes,Virginia, there's Swinging Dreidel too!



And, oh yes... there's Oh Hannukah too!





* This is the portion from Maccabees that refers to the the sukkot-hannukah connection: And they celebrated the eight days [ of Hannukah] in joy as chag ha-sukkot in their remembrance of their troubles before some time on chag ha-sukkot in the mountains and caves as beasts of the field. Therefore, with branches of myrtle and branches of beauty and date palm branches in their hands, they gave thanks to He who permitted them to succeed in purifying His Temple. And with a consensus they established for the entire Jewish nation to celebrate each year these days.-- Maccabees II 10:6-8


7 comments:

FranIAm said...

Ahhhh.... I can't say much. Just thank you.

You are a light dear Hanukkah Linda, a true light.

Dayenu.

Jane R said...

Oh, Lindy, how beautiful. This means more to me than you know. And I happen to love that Ladino song, too - have been listening to a Voice of the Turtle CD of Hanukkah songs the last few days, along with Christmas music by Episcopal monks and by two women of the Miserable Offenders. (Not all at the same time.)

Toda raba, Hanukkah Linda, and love to +Rowan, Bishop of Playing, from me and Her Grace +Maya (who likes chicken soup, by the way, so maybe she's Jewish too)

Diane said...

ok, I've been meaning to get at this for a few days now, but the high day of Christmas is done, and now I have time to say more than "Merry Christmas."

I think this is beautiful, Lindy. I love to learn more of the spiritual significance of Hannukah. And what you shared personally is so powerful, too.

Thank you.

merry Christmas.

BillyD said...

Ocho kandalikas para miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...

Lindy, I lived in Austin for a long time; can I ask you what parish you're a member of?

Lindy said...

Hi BillyD. Thanks for visiting my blog.

I used to be a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Cedar Park but I got kicked out of that. I blogged on it here: http://www.freewebs.com/lmcmillan9/index.htm?blogentryid=2980789 So, that's that.

As for the ants... Yes, the ants that close up the opening do die. That's the self-sacrifice part.

Ocho kandalikas para all of us!

Stop by the blog again sometime. I don't update as often as I used to but I'm still there.

Best,

Lindy

Lindy said...

Glad you stopped by Fran. Me and Rowan love you.

Ah, dear Jane R, but can she make chicken soup, that is the question. Always with the questions. Gotta love the Jews. That one in particular.

Merry Christmas to you too Diane -- way late, I know. You and Scout are dancing flames of light.

Love to all!

You too Billy D...

Lindy

Lindy said...

PS - Did any of you actually make the drink? I found it fairly potent. Best served cold. Real cold.