Tonight is the eighth and final night of Chanukah. I’ve always loved everything about Chanukah, from cleaning the wax out of the menorah’s candle holders to eating gelt (chocolate coins) to guessing which candle is going to burn out first. My dad, the Catholic, always seemed to guess that one right.
But it’s light in the darkness, watching the number of candles grow day by day, that is the most enchanting.
I inherited my growing-up menorah from my mom this year because her childhood menorah returned to her when my uncle died. I’ve never owned a menorah as an adult—unless you count the one I made out of a box in China—so this was the first year for me to light the lights at my house.
During the weekend that fell in the middle of Chanukah, I decided to paint my kitchen. Only I didn’t finish because of course it took longer than I thought, and my deconstructed kitchen is still occupying the dining table, the only place to put the menorah.
I restacked things and cleared a spot for it in the middle of the table and commenced worrying—that I was being disrespectful, that I would burn the house down, that it would look ugly amidst all the clutter—but I grew to like the symbolism. Even in the midst of the most chaotic disarray we can create, the light will still grow in the darkness.
And it was just as beautiful as ever, even surrounded by mixing bowls, pots and pans, and a few stray onions.