My grandparents are the perfect couple --- and not in a cliché “still in love after all these years” Hallmark card sort of way, but in a really solid, loving and tender sort of way. Anyone who spends a little bit of time with them can see how much they admire each other. It’s in the way they look at each other and even more in the way they speak to and about each other. Together they have survived war, hunger, anti-Semitism, a Communist regime, persecution, immigration and illnesses, and still through it all there is no bickering. If they harbor any irritations towards each other, they are overshadowed by their deep love and mutual respect. I once asked my grandmother what their secret is. She told me that when they got married, they made a decision that there would be peace in their home and they have kept that promise to each other.
December is literally the darkest month of the year, with sunset starting just after 5:00PM each day. The celebration of Hanukkah, the festival of lights, which begins on December 16, 2014 stands in sharp contrast to the darkness of our winter months.
Hanukkah itself is not mentioned anywhere in the Torah so the earliest accounts of its celebration comes from the Talmud. The Talmud even asks Mai Hanukkah, or what is Hanukkah? The answer is “…Eight days of celebration on which mourning and fasting are prohibited. Because when the Hellenists entered the sanctuary, they defiled all the oil that was found there. When the Maccabees triumphed, they looked for oil to light the Eternal Flame, and only found one container with the seal of the high priest intact. The vial contained enough oil for only one day, but a miracle occurred, and they were able to keep it lit for eight days from that container...” (Shabbat 21b).