CLERGY CORNER: Memories and Menorahs

Posted on 29 December 2011 by LeslieM

On TV, there was a show called Taxi and a character called Simka (a take on the Hebrew word, Simcha … meaning joy). When Simka got married, she  became Simka Gravas. The name Gravas reminds me of Gribenas and I couldn’t help but think of another ethnic delicacy that gave me even more joy … latkes. (Oddly enough, Simka’s husband name was Latka.)

My brother (Rabbi Sheldon Ezring) recently wrote a piece about how our mother used to stand in the kitchen, peeling potatoes and then take out a hand grater as she prepared them along with a batch of onions and eggs. Meanwhile, she would have oil heating in the pan. As I write this, I can hear the sizzling sound and smell the aroma that filled the entire house.

When my father got home from work, we would gather to light the candles on the Chanukiah along with proper blessings and singing of “Rock of Ages.” Then, dinner was served … more latkes.

After dinner, we would play Spin the Dreidel for a penny a spin. Growing up in the midwest, it was usually freezing outside, but as we celebrated Chanukah with the latkes, candles and singing, we felt the warm glow of being together, wrapped up in traditions of our faith.

The last lines of my brother’s writing taught me a valuable lesson I had missed all these years. My brother wrote, “Notice, I did not mention gifts. Gifts were rarely exchanged and of little importance.”

That has sadly changed. Gifts have taken away much sacred meaning of Chanukah and Christmas. Remember, we are not just lighting candles or decorating trees, eating latkes or drinking egg nog. We are creating memories …

 

Shalom My Friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

 

Rabbi Ezring is a Hospice Chaplain and Member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. He also provides Professional Pastoral Care Services to a number of health centers in Broward County.

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