. . . To Reach This Season
Posted December 1, 2010on:
The sun has set. the box of candles sits on the corner of the table, the Menorah front and center. we’ve turned out most of the lights in the apartment.
I’m through the first two prayers and since there are only two candles to light this evening, I’m in no danger of the match burning my fingers before I can finish.
It’s always right about the time the smell of burning wick and melting wax hits my nostrils that I get to my favorite part:
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, she‑hechiyanu v’kiy’manu v’higi’anu la‑z’man ha‑ze.
Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has kept us alive, and sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.
Everynight, for eight nights, we light a Menorah and add one additional candle everynight. But only once is the Shehechiyanu recited. I only get one chance for that magical moment.
Maybe it’s the melody. maybe it’s the smell of the wax and the match, or the sound they make as they burn. Maybe it’s because the words above were some of the first foreign words to pass my lips when I was a child. Regardless, even an atheist, secular, academic Jew like myself finds a meditative calm in those words.