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Posted on November 26, 2021
In 2013, the first day of Hanukkah fell on Thanksgiving, something that never happened before and will never happen again. A crazy big deal was made of the coincidence, complete with parties, songs, excitement, and, this being America, merchandise. Many of you may remember that. You can still find a listing for Thanksgivukkah on Wikipedia — and it has 66 footnotes! (go figure). While the first day of Hanukkah will not overlap with Thanksgiving again, this year it comes close. Hanukkah begins Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend — and that I do remember happening before.
This Thanksgiving is different from last year. Last year we were alone; this year many of us are again getting together with family and friends. But the crisis is not yet over as much as we wish it were. In fact, the numbers are going in the wrong direction. We still have to be careful. We still cannot gather as much as we would like. We are, for example, not having our traditional Hanukkah banquet.
Hanukkah falls in the darkest part of the winter. The days are at their shortest and the moon is at its smallest. It does not get darker than this. We light Hanukkah candles to help light up the darkness outside.
But we light Hanukkah candles also to help light up the darkness inside, the darkness caused by this long period of fright. Like last year, we will be lighting Hanukkah candles as a community by Zoom. Each night (except for Friday night) we will join together at a distance to light the candles, to sing, to tell stories, to share the Hanukkah warmth.
Hanukkah candles represent our thanksgiving for all the blessings we have and our faith that the world will be brighter, that we can bring light to the world as the Maccabees did.
Hag Urim Sameah.