Monday, December 26, 2011
(Hanukkah Brass Menorah, circa 1962, by Ludwig
Wolpert, 1900-1981, German-born sculptor and
designer who worked and taught in Israel and
Hanukkah celebrates the victory, in 165 BCE, of the Jews under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus in Judea over their Syrian rules, who had banned all parts of Jewish culture. The feast celebrates “the joyous day / when we regained the right to pray / to our one God in our own way,” in the words of American poet Aileen Fisher (1906-2002).
The eight-day Festival of Light began on the evening of December 20 this year. The daily lighting of the candles commemorates the miraculous expansion of one day’s oil to an eight-day supply of light, enough to allow the Jews the time needed to rededicate their Temple.
THE COMING OF LIGHT
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.
~ Mark Strand, born 1934, Canadian-born American poet and translator