Tuesday, December 23, 2008


(I'd only ever spelled it "Hanukkah"(חנוכה‎) until now, but since the only Rabbi in the Army over here at the present time spells it "Chanukah," I figure I'll defer to his expertise and wisdom in this.)

Yesterday I wrote about the Winter Solstice, which also happened to be the first night of Chanukah this year. Again we have an ancient celebration which contrasts light and darkness. For the eight nights of Chanukah, Jews light candles in order to proclaim to the world the wonders and power of God, who caused the light in the Jerusalem Temple to burn miraculously for eight days, during the reign of the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Ephiphanes, around the year 165 BCE.

At the candle-lighting each night, two prayers are said (the first night, an extra prayer is said). "Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors, in those days, at this season." "Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us in life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season."

It seems to me that those lovely prayers are very apt indeed.

Happy Chanukah to Robert, Lisa, Benjamin, and Rachel; to Lester, Holly, and Lauren; to Bert; to my sober friend Bruce Z, and to all my other friends too numerous to name!

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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