The crisp night air was smiling at me as a stepped out into the cold Chanukah night. Despite the sky being an inky black, I knew I would be engulfed by light and warmth wherever I turn. I was not disappointed. From many windows, menorahs were visible, as if winking and saying ‘we are with you.’
It had been a difficult week for me. I felt the darkness of winter, of the cold and long nights, keenly. My mood was not exactly on a high that week. I tried to hold it together as much as I could, but felt the situation pulling me down.
I had put all my hopes and dreams in a particular source of income, and all my efforts had failed. On top of that, my son needed intense therapy, and we had nowhere to get the funding from. My Daughter was still in middle of treatment for a rare, but difficult condition. In short, it was not an easy time for me. Without a husband to shoulder the burden, it was mine to carry alone…
I was working hard trying to tighten my belt, and manage my many household tasks. Living far away from family, help was not readily available for me.
And in middle of all this, the Yom Tov Chanukah made its appearance, casting a warm glow over the dismal sheet of grey.
I pulled my shawl tighter around me, and glanced down at the carriage, to make sure my two year old was still well bundled up.
As I walked along, I pondered: Why is it that whenever Chanukah is mentioned, this special feeling of warmth surrounds us? What is it about these days, that makes us feel so secure?
Why is it, that when I used to wake up to my newborns in middle of the night, do I feel that connection more than during the day? And what makes a candle light at night, so much more that a candle light during the day?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was precisely because of the long winter nights, and the cold winds blowing outside, that these days exude this warm glow. How much more is the light seen and felt against the backdrop of darkness. The fact the we need the light, that we are dependant on it, makes is so much stronger.
Later on at night, when I once again awoke had time to ponder, I entertained those very same thoughts, and thought about all that Hashem has blessed me with – how lucky and protected I should feel. It has not been the easiest time for me, true, but just like the light is so much more visible against darkness, in the same way I should feel His guiding hand now more than ever before.
I looked down at my sleeping children, and whispered to them:
“My dear loved ones, may you only know of joy in life, but if you ever feel lost, or scared – think of the Chanukah candles and be inspired.”