December 07, 2015

Hannukah:: Second Night

The Second Night:

This candle reminds us of the bright light of reason, our unique glory. It is our power to think that sets us apart from all other creatures. When we choose to think, we become masters of all we survey: We build tall structures of steel and glass and send our voices and images across wide spaces, we transform ugliness into beauty and erase the pain of disease. May reason be the guiding light in the lives of all people.

December 06, 2015

Hannukah:: First Night

First Night
We dedicate this candle to Life. Its light will shed its beauty upon all the other lights, just as life makes possible all other values. The earth may exist without life, but existence will have no meaning. Life is the wellspring of value. Life is the fountain of light.

My life has always been full of interest in, affection for and appreciation of the Jewish faith. As a kiddo I grew up with Richie and his Conservative mom and dad and Orthodox Grandma and Grandpa. They were a part of my culture, as were the candles and the music and the reverence for God I'm so drawn to.

When I met Joe Tradii in an advertising agency somewhere in the early 90s, he gave me a gift I use every year in my broad-faithed home. We celebrate Hannukah largely because I want to kindle the lights in a simple act of worship. Remembering, who the Light of the World really is. And also, because I believe it's a deeply beautiful opportunity to commemorate God's faithfulness as the lights burn on our mantle, and we recall what happened with the Macabees.

I'll share Joe's gift with you. The home service we use each year. The thoughts are gorgeous. They make me consider. The language and ideas are pertinent today as they would have been ten, twenty, fifty, seventy, a hundred years ago. Like they will be tomorrow.

After the traditional Hebrew prayers, there is a blessing for the year and a blessing for each night (like the one above). I hope you enjoy the poetic simplicity. And, may God bless you.


A candle is a small thing,
but one candle can light another,
And see how its own light increases,
as a candle gives its flames to the other,
You are such light,
Light is the power to dispel darkness.

You have the power to move back the darkness in yourself and in others.
To do so with the birth of light,
creates when one mind illuminates another,
when one heart kindles another,
when one man strengthens another.

Throughout history, dictators large and small
have tried to darken, diminish
And separate men by force. But always in the end they fail.

For always, somewhere in the world,
the light remains;
ready to burn its brightest where it is dark:
a light that began
when God created the world.

And every free people has remained free
by resisting those who would
extinguish in men the light
of freedom,
of love,
of truth.

To do our daily part to increase this light,
we remember that a candle alone is a small thing,
a man alone is a small thing,
a nation alone is a small thing,
Remembering this,
we must recognize something much
more than our indispensability to us.

We cannot hope --
either as individuals or nations --
to reach our highest capabilities
until we help those around us reach theirs.
To be strong
the strong must serve.
You too are strongest
when you serve.

Birthday of the World.


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