Tonight, I will light three candles for the third night of Hanukkah. As I’ve written before, Hanukkah is a fairly minor Jewish festival. It commemorates the victory of the small but mighty band of Maccabees who fought against the army of King Antiochus. Antiochus wanted to outlaw the practice of Judaism. When the Maccabees liberated the temple in Jerusalem, it had been desecrated and so needed to be cleansed. The story goes that there was only enough oil to light the holy menorah over the altar for one night, but a miracle occurred, and the oil lasted for eight nights, enough to allow more oil to be prepared.
Every year I ponder why this festival is significant, and there are many explanations. This year, I’m focusing on the concept of “dedication,” which is the translation of the Hebrew word “Hanukkah.” In the case of the holiday, it refers to the Jews regaining control, cleansing and rededicating the temple. For me, this year represents my rededication to myself. There have been many dreams in my life that I’ve allowed to fall by the wayside. I’ve focused on my family, my career and the many responsibilities I’ve taken upon myself. But I’ve also begun to feel the urgency of time and the drive to revisit some of those old dreams before it’s too late.
I read a post recently on social media about the various famous people who had begun their careers later in their lives, many after already achieving success in some other profession. It reminded me that regardless of my current age, there is still time and a place to realize some of my goals. The key is to stay focused and to be realistic. This year, I am dedicating myself to figuring out which of my early dreams to pursue and to create a plan to achieve them.
I also dedicate myself to letting go of those dreams that are the stuff of childhood. I was a pretty dreamy child, spending my afternoons lying in the grass looking up at the clouds, creating stories about my life. When I wasn’t outside, I was curled up with a book, imagining myself in the words of someone else. As an adult, I have often felt disappointed that life isn’t the fairytales of my youth.
So now it’s time for me to separate the fairytales from the reality of my life. What can I achieve? What dreams do I want to hold onto and pursue? What am I ready to let go of? And, in this darkest part of the year, how will I find the light to guide me on my path? Tonight, I will light three candles, and one more every night until all eight are illuminated. And this week I will dedicate myself to remembering that I can carry that light with me all year.
On more thing. For those of you who followed my adventures in gardening this summer, I have a few final pictures. The last pumpkins have been harvested, cooked and turned into pies and my sweet potatoes continue to fill us up. Most recently, they were a yummy stuffing on Thanksgiving. Enjoy!
About Barbara Dab
Barbara Dab is a small business owner, journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She is the proud owner of Nashville Pilates Company, a boutique Pilates studio in Nashville’s Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood. Check it out at www.nashvillepilatescompany.com. She is also the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors. Visit http://www.theperetzproject.com. If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.
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