My Difficult Menorah Lighting

Friday, 3 December, 2010 - 12:33 am

Dear Friends,

Now I am a bit more relaxed.

We had some guest over for the Menorah lighting and to the outside all looked good and regular, but I was not relaxed at all… there was something bothering me a lot, but I did not share this with anyone, not even with Rivky.

As I’m sure you’ve been updated with the news from Israel; on the Carmel Mountain there is a huge fire. The Carmel is literally going up in flames. A terrible tragedy, there are quite a few people who have lost their lives.

Most of us upon hearing the reports, exclaim “oy vey”, and then continue on with what we were doing.

Last night, I was not able to just “go on”. For a simple reason; my younger sister Nechama together with her husband and their children, live just a few kilometers from the flames. They live in a small village called Kfar Sitrin on the Carmel Mountain. I keep trying to get in touch with them, without success.

I’m very nervous…. and it is time to light the Menorah for the second night of Chanukah, the guest we have invited are at the door. I decided, despite the hardship, not to ruin the atmosphere, and not to say anything. However, I keep my eyes glued to my Iphone and try to reach them. In the meantime reports are coming in about evacuations of more and more villages on the Carmel. Kfar Sitrin is also on the list. It is very hard, I almost can’t hold back anymore…

I light the candles, and while looking at the flame of the candle which I’m holding, in my imagination I see a huge fire on the Carmel. I say the blessings and with a forced smile (for the kids,) I sing the Maoz Tzur.

A few more minutes pass, we sit down to eat Latkes and Doughnuts, I’m not letting go of my Iphone even for a second… and then comes the sigh of relief, I get a text message from my sister:”Chaim, everything is ok, we are out of the danger zone with the kids… we still don’t know what will be with our home, if it will survive the flames, but thank G-d, we are safe.”

I felt so good, and was about to go back to celebrating the second night of Chanukah with a calm heart. But then I thought to myself, what are so many families and friends going through these very moments, who still have not received messages from their loved ones?

This is an indescribable tragedy, more than 40 dead and many injured, and who’s talking about the endless damage.

There are no words and there is no explanation for such a tragedy.

G-d, we need heavenly mercy. Doesn’t Am Yisrael have enough “tzores”(troubles), what did we need this for now?

We have suffered enough.

May it be G-d’s will, that the light of Chanukah shine goodness on us all and may we hear only good news,

Rivky and the children join me in wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanuka,

Rabbi Chaim




Comments on: My Difficult Menorah Lighting

Bud wrote...

As a Jew living in Fairfield, I was scehkod by this blatant act and to hear that charges will not be pressed against these people. What if it was your children who were exposed to this blatant hatred and abuse? Will we ever know who they are or will the police and town leaders keep it quiet and hope it goes away? When you have cancer you do not keep it quiet and hope it goes away, you treat it aggressively and fight it. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” So dear neighbors, if you consider yourself good, then do something. Write to Ken Flatto and the Police Chief and the local papers as I have and tell them that Fairfield will not stand for masked mauraders with nazi flags stealing into our town in the dark of night. In 1933 the German people stayed quiet and thought, Oh we're good and decent people, the Nazi's will simply go away . Do not think that Nazism, racism, religious intolerance does not exist in this fair town or our great nation. First they come for the Jews, then it will be gays, blacks, hispanic, handicapped, catholics speak up!!!