Explaining Love & Light
Just last Sunday we were sitting down to lunch when “My Cherie Amour” started playing. I sang a line to Charlie, at which point Aliyah piped up “I also want to be your cherie amour!!”. When I told her that they were both my loves, she kept testing me. How does it work for you to love both of us? was the unarticulated question beneath her probing.
What followed was a conversation about love, and a simple four-year old worthy explanation, that my love would grow as long as there were more people who needed it. “See this piece of pizza?” I asked, “If you eat a bite, then there is less for Charlie. But love doesn’t work like food, or toys or anything we can hold. Love has this amazing ability to get bigger and stretch wider, as more people are around to drink it in.”
I had to completely reframe for her the parameters of the physical world which she is coming to understand as “truth”. It was a toddlers peek into metaphysics and the laws of spirit and soul.
And so it is with the light of Chanukah - its brightness defies the laws of physicality. Unlike money, clothes or cake, when light is shared it doesn't divide - it grows.
One of the mitzvot of Chanukah is to light the Chanukiah in a window where it can be seen and after nightfall so the light is brightest and most visible.
As we recount the miracle of the small jug of oil which managed to fuel the flames of the Menorah in the desecrated temple for eight days instead of one, part of our duty is to share this light, to tell the story of our ancestors andperhaps most importantly to start a conversation about where we can defy the “laws of physicality” in our own lives. Where are we experiencing miracles? Where we can shift our perspective to create change? Where we are uncovering an internal spark of fuel that carries us further than we thought it could? We start conversations about how we can share our light, how we can love more, how we can reach into a dark part of the world and do our little part in sparking a flame.
This creates a meaningful Chanukah.
Starting Sunday night when we stand in front of our candles, I am going to explain to the girls again, how intangibles like love and light and knowledge only grow as they are shared. They may not remember my exact words in years to come, but I do hope they will remember the feeling this creates, as they stand in front of the twinkling lights, absorbing these ideas, surrounded by people who love them.
Back in the restaurant, as I was finishing my conversation with Aliyah, The Contour’s 1960's Motown hit “Do you love me?!” started playing. A bluesy, passionate voice sang out “tell me, tell me, tell me.….now do you love me?”-we both looked up and started laughing.
May we all be blessed with a bright, love-filled and meaningful Chanukah. May we realize the privilege of being able to light the menorah, and may our joy and togetherness radiate to touch everyone who needs this illumination.