Hanukkah's Radiance: Passing the Light Through Generations

Hanukkah's Radiance: Passing the Light Through Generations

Hanukkah's Radiance: Passing the Light Through Generations

Lighting the menorah during Hanukkah has always been a huge family affair for the Greenbergs. It's our tradition to give each member of the family their own hanukkiah, the special nine-branched menorah that we use to celebrate Hanukkah, and use each of them, every night. Throughout the years, we've had big menorahs, small ones, metal ones, ceramic ones, fancy ones, and simple ones. Either way, they all have ended up covered in colorful wax, layered in a rainbowed memorial to our shared history. 


Each year, I spend the afternoon before the first night of Hanukkah cleaning off the menorahs. And since each family member has one, there are at least half a dozen to get through. As I clean, I always ask myself why I don't clean them at the end of Hanukkah when the mess is fresh. In that moment, I remember that seeing the blaze of tiny flames at the end of the holiday, when each menorah is filled with nine little candles and each family member's joy is full, there's no reason to wash it all away. Instead, I choose to enjoy the cleaning. 


I choose to enjoy it because I don't know what next year's Hanukkah will look like. I'm not promised the same number of menorahs or even people around their lights. I choose to enjoy it because each little drip of wax reminds me of the squeals of delight that our toddlers have seeing the candles light up. I choose to enjoy it because God has been faithful to my family, immediate and extended throughout the generations, for thousands of years. I choose to enjoy it because I know that the effort later is worth the reward of carrying on our family traditions in the moment. I choose to enjoy it because the festival of dedication is a memorial of cleaning the sacred things in the temple and this is my way of participating. 


Last year, Hanukkah was a bit more somber due to my father's illness. The intensity of the flames, the loud laughter of the children, the copious amount of potato latkes... they all overwhelmed him and we needed to have a quieter celebration. The candles were still lit and allowed to drip all over the menorahs but we kept our usual raucous dreidel playing to a minimum. 


This year, as I pull our menorahs out of storage for their annual cleaning, I am faced with my father's menorah for the first time since his passing. And the grief washes over me for a long moment. But then I see a brand-new, shiny, wax-free menorah waiting near it - a present for a new family member - and say the usual blessing for these memorial holidays:

"Blessed are You, O Lord our God, who has kept us alive and sustained us to this season."


Despite the ache of missing my father and the annoyance at having to add one more cleaning task to my list of Hanukkah preparations, the joy of knowing that our family is growing makes my heart light. So, today, as we prepare to embark on remembering this feast of dedication, take a moment to recognize the small ways that you can dedicate your time and effort to ADONAI. Even if all you do is clean little bits of colored wax off of your candlesticks. 


Because that can be enough. 


  • Thanks!
    Happy 🕎 Hanukkah!

    Woody Lee on

  • ❤️ – Thank you for sharing.

    Mark on

  • Thank you for that it was enjoyable and encouraging.

    Dora Marquart on

  • 😭😭❤️🥹 Mandie, Thank you so much for sharing. We cried as read aloud your Beautiful testimony. It reminds us of what is really important during this season. Praying for you and your family. Shalom & Love, in Yeshua’s Name

    Tammy Trevino & Rachel Trevino on

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