Friday, December 11, 2015

The True Spirit of Chanukah

Yesterday I received a call from friends of my parents, visiting Jerusalem for the holiday of Chanukah.  They told me that parents had sent a bunch of presents for my daughter and her four cousins;  we went to pick them up, as we had plans to meet with my brother and his family yesterday evening.

Amongst the presents for the children was a small gift for me from my parents, a unexpected and pleasant surprise.  Raphaela asked me if I felt badly that she had a large box from her grandparents, and mine was much smaller.  I replied that since I had not expected anything at all, I was quite pleased actually.  Raphaela responded, "Because we are happy with what we have."

Later on in the day, Raphaela asked me why in fact my parents had sent presents for Chanukah at all, and I could not have been more pleased that my daughter was not connected into the materialism that typically characterizes this time of the year.  I asked her, "What does Chanukah mean to you?"

"Well, we get vacation from school and go on great day trips.  We light beautiful candles each night and eat delicious snacks, like doughnuts and chocolate coins and pizza.  We get to count menorahs in the windows and on the street and on top of cars, I already found more than 200!   And we get to have lots of parties, spending time with our Mommy and our friends and our cousins."

"But it is nice to get presents, every once in a while, right?" 
"Yeah, sure!" Raphaela answered with a broad smile.

And this is one of the most huge benefits of living in Israel.

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