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Chanukah and personal meanings

22/12/2022 09:08:56 AM


The first day of Chanukah has personal meaning for me. Even though I was obviously not present, my parents, Ruben and Helen Morrison, were married on December 19, 1954, which coincided with the first light of Chanukah. This year, the secular and Jewish dates coincide again.

Chanukah, along with Passover, are the two most family-centric holidays on the Jewish calendar. I remember as a child that our family Chanukiah had a wind up key and played the melody of Maoz Tzur, as we kindled the Chanukiah as a family.

I remember as a child that the four Morrison kids would receive fun gifts on the first couple of nights of Chanukah. On the remaining nights, we received necessities such as articles of clothing and school supplies. While not being overly commercial, my parents did give us something each night of the festival.

Perhaps the most outstanding Chanukah/wedding anniversary of my parents took place when my siblings and I surprised mom and dad for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. We took them out to a surprise dinner at a downtown Boston hotel and presented them with two original poems and an engraved platter inscribed with a recognition of their silver anniversary. 

While mom and dad passed away three months apart from each other in 1999, I remember them every day and even more significantly on the first day of Chanukah and December 19. How meaningful it is that both dates converge this year. 

As I lit the candles for the first night, I thought of my parents being like the Shamash candle, and their children being like the candle for the first day of Chanukah. As the Shamash illuminates the candles of the holiday; so too, Ruben and Helen Morrison brought light, love, and dedication of Judaism to all four of their children.

May their memories be a blessing. 

Wherever you are in the gates of Paradise, I wish you a Freyleche Chanukah, mom and dad.

To you, my Beth Emeth family - As we enter the final days of Chanukah, ask and share: What are your family Chanukah memories? What new memories do you want to establish for your children and/or grandchildren? How will you involve the next generation in the ritual lighting of the Chanukiah and other family oriented Jewish traditions?

I wish us all a continued healthy and joyous Chanukah.

Chag Urim Sameach, Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Howard Morrison

Wed, 29 May 2024 21 Iyyar 5784