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Countdown To Chanukah 26 – Glowing With Gobbled Light

“The climate quickly changed to cold and the trees burst into color, the reds and yellows you can’t believe.  It isn’t only color but a glowing, as though the leaves gobbled the light of the autumn sun and then released it slowly. There’s a quality of fire in these colors (‘Travels With Charley In Search of America,’ by John Steinbeck).”

As Debbie and I walked the dogs one early October morning along the Hudson River facing the Palisades in full bursting color, I recalled the above paragraph and imagined sitting next to him in Rocinante. 

I needed Steinbeck’s words to express what I was feeling.

Debbie looked and said, “How great are Your works, Hashem, how very subtle Your designs (Psalms 92:5).” She too had to borrow words. She chose King David rather than Steinbeck.

I realized that Steinbeck’s words actually deepened my appreciation of King David’s Psalms; “They aren’t just filled with colors you can’t believe, but they glow with the light they gobble from Divine Inspiration.”

I wonder whether the light of the Chanukah Menorah wasn’t simply filled with celebratory colors of great achievement but more, a glowing with light gobbled up from the people who fought to protect Torah and Service of God. Perhaps this is yet another explanation of why we chose to increase the number of candles each night of Chanukah; to represent the increased glowing of those who risked all, who accessed their potential and saw in the Miracle of the Oil, God’s physical acknowledgement of their accomplishments.

We can use this time before Chanukah to pinpoint and gobble up the light of our accomplishments of the past, very dark and very challenging year. We can absorb the full light of all the ways in which we changed and grew. We can begin now to gather all that light so that our Chanukah Menorah will not simply shine, but glow.

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