II lost the email and I have no idea where it went. It’s not in trash; it’s not minimized; it’s just gone, disappeared. All I did was glance at the heading and beginning of it but I loved how it began. I am totally frustrated by my ineptness but that’s a different story for a different time.
Just know: I can’t quote Amichai Lau-Lavie’s words exactly but they went something like this “I just got off the plane from Tel Aviv and am through customs, having successfully smuggled in 300 dreidels that say: ‘A Great Miracle Happened Here’.” (As opposed to all dreidels outside of Israel that say: A Great Miracle Happened There). Amichai is spiritual leader of Lab/Shul in New York and founder of Storahtelling, My take away from him: Miracles happen everywhere. They are not confined to one time and one place; they do not rehearse the past for the sake of yesterday; they point at here, this place, this reality. Hanukkah is not about what the Maccabees did 2200 years ago in Modiin and Jerusalem. Hanukkah is now and universal.
I love it and need it. San Bernardino, and the unfolding revelations of people who think that religion gives you permission to build bombs and arsenals of automatic rifles and guns, killing innocent people in the name of God, make the days grow shorter & darker. Hanukkah announces simply that in the midst of all this bleakness we can find light. Jewish tradition offers it in tops (dreidles) that spin and spin till they fall on one of its four sides, each side a different letter, each side a different insight into the where and how of miracles. Jewish tradition offers it in small multi-colored candles (though I miss the fat orange ones of my youth), lit one flickering candle at a time. Jewish tradition offers it in a story of heroes who would not accept the status quo and a legend of sacred oil in a lamp that shone for eight days and nights surviving against all odds burning brightly till a new supply could be made. From my friends in the Christian tradition who are observing Advent, I sense it is symbolically dark days as well. As they wait for the yearly birth of the baby who becomes for them the embodiment of light and love in the world, they too are lighting candles and counting down to hope.
But hope is not always easy to come by. I hear friends say: “I fear for the world my children and grandchildren are inheriting.” And I don’t dismiss their concern. But a great miracle can happen here. We need heroes and heroines; we need Maccabees and Apostles; we need spinning tops and sacred legends to give inspiration. My hope is that we can wake up as a nation and choose elected officials who will stand up to the Gun Lobby and enact a sensible gun policy for this country. I know it’s complicated. But it is time to pray for the victims and their loved ones with our deeds; it is time to put an end to this culture of guns. That would be a miracle worthy of eight candles.