I remember my first Hanukkah.
I was seven years old and
my mother walked into the bathroom with
a Charlie Brown toothbrush and said
This is your Hanukkah present.
I heard the word present loud and clear
But up to that point no-one had bothered
to tell me I was Jewish so I wasn’t ready
for the full weight of this gift.
They told me later it’s because
the oil lasted for eight nights
but I can’t find that in any of the text
So I’m left wanting to believe as I
stuff potato pancakes into my mouth.
(I’ll believe anything if potatoes are involved)
They say we only give presents because that’s
what everyone in this American neighborhood does.
I’m okay with that.
I’m okay with giving and receiving.
I’m okay with lighting up the night
one candle at a time through my window.
I’m okay that fruitcake isn’t part of our tradition.
(Assimilation isn’t always the best way.)
Let us remember what may have happened
thousands of years ago.
Let us light up the night with that belief.
Let us wipe out the hate,
one Charlie Brown toothbrush at a time.
Your dentist will thank you.
Your Rabbi will thank you.
Don’t have a rabbi? Talk to any of them
They’ll be glad to oblige.
We’re one potato pancake away
from a miracle.