night 1: activ8 (unleash the magic)
Everybody looks great in candlelight which is why, perhaps, candlelighting is a sacred practice across cultures and across time. Wicks are only lit once, providing us a with ritual that connects us to the here and now – romantic, real and magical. Yes, magical – there is possibly power in this simple act of making fire that transcends the practical and transforms something in our minds, and in the world, not just the ambiance in the room. But it only works with focused activation.
Enter: The Chanukah tradition, evolving over centuries to become this 8-nights recipe with 8 steps for helping us deal with what’s dark in our lives: longer nights, fear and isolation, pain and loss, wars and persecutions, then and now, all that’s wrong in the world. For 8 nights we get to shine our spotlight on what’s dark and rededicate ourselves to bringing more light to the world.
Some say we light because of the maccabees, remembering persecution and celebrating religious freedom. Or it’s the miracle of the oil that lasted – the power of faith, and the aroma of fried potatoes. Gastsronomic, religious, mythic or historical, Chanukah is about lighting up, alone or with others, as an activation of connection, a bold declaration of hope and trust in our ability to overcome darkness – inside and beyond.
Tonight’s the first night of this DIY theater of fire. How about:
1. Let your phone rest
2. Find a menorah near you, with the first of eight candles ready to go
3. Before you light, activ8 the ritual by dedicating this night to a darkness in your heart or in the life of someone you know, or out in the world – that you want to shine your light on.
4. Use the traditional blessings or your own intentional words to activ8 the menorah.
5. Most Hanukkah candles last for 30 min. Take this time to have a conversation with others around the sacred fire (yes, latkes, and yes, you can skype) and share with each other: What darkness am I spotlighting tonight? And what can I do about it?
Here’s what a Nobel Prize winning Jew wrote about the fight of light back in 1943:
“We believe that the Jewish attachment to the past can accommodate an extremely progressive outlook, for the history of the Jewish people is the history of an ongoing revolution against the powers of darkness.” (Isaac Bashevis Singer)
Repeat Tomorrow night. Drink responsibly. Discuss.