The other night I had the privilege of attending my daughter’s mesibat chanukah (Chanukah party) at her school. I really enjoyed it! It was clear that both the students and the teachers in my daughter’s class worked very hard, practiced a lot, and had a lot of fun putting on ‘the show.”
At one point, my daughter’s teacher Chagit taught the children about the special quality of fire. She and her assistant were each holding an unlit candle. Here is what she did:
Children, if my friend wants me to light her candle, what do I first have to do to my candle?
Children: Light it!
Okay (and she lit the candle.) I see. So if I first light my own candle, I can then give light to her.
But wait a minute. If I give her all my light – I won’t have any left for me! Right?
Children: (Do not look too certain.)
Well, let’s see what happens. (She then lights her assistant’s candle and asked the children:) What happened?
Children: You still have your own fire.
Exactly!! So what can we learn from this – from fire?
That before we can give to another person, we first have to fill ourselves with light. And that once we have our light – we don’t lose it when we share it. We just create more light.
One candle, lights up a hundred.”
This reminded me of a story I once heard while listening to a tape by Jane Nelson on Positive Discipline.
She tells the story of a mother who had just given birth to another child and was speaking with her four year old daughter. The daughter, it seemed to the mother, required some reassurance about her mother’s love for her. The mother decided to depict how much she loved her daughter using four candles. Here is what she did:
(Mother has four unlit candles in front of her, while her daughter is standing beside her.)
“Anna – see these candles? These candles represent our family. The first one is me, the second one your dad, the third is you, and the fourth is Danny, your new brother.
(Mom proceeds to light the first candle and continues.)
This light – the fire on the candle, represents all my love. (She proceeds to light the second candle.)
When I married your father, I decided to give him all my love. Anna, but you see, I still have all of my love too.
(Mom proceeds to light the third candle.) When your father and I had you – we were so overjoyed – and we gave you ALL of our love. And you see, I still have all of my love and daddy has all of his love too.
(She proceeds to light the last candle.) And when we had Danny, we gave him all of our love.
See, I still have all of my love, Daddy has all of his love, you have all of your love, and Danny has all of his love.
And look at how much light and love we now have in our home!”
This Chanukah, may we all be blessed with the light of love and blessing in each of our homes. With each night that we proactively add more light in our homes, may each of us, individually feel our own light and love for ourselves grow, and may our love and respect for one another grow stronger and stronger.
Chanukah Sameach. Happy Chanukah.