Chanukah, Christmas — the world brightens up with the lights of these holidays and people tell stories of their faith and of miracles. This year was a first in my life; I was asked if I would play Santa Claus. Sadly, I was already committed to other work on that day.
But, for years, this Rabbi has thought of what fun it would be to play Santa. All I would need is the suit, as I already have the white beard and the tummy. Now, in the past when I thought of playing Santa, I always thought about how wonderful it would be to watch little ones as their eyes bulged in delight at getting to see and talk to me (Santa), and telling me what they wanted most in the world. But I wasn’t asked to play Santa for children. I was asked to put on a Santa suit for a Nursing Home. And I think that the wishes of an elderly person are very different than that of a child, then again, maybe not.
Most of you are familiar with the game of dreidel. The word dreidel comes from a Yiddish derivation of the German word, drehen, meaning “to turn” and, today, I would like to put a new spin on it. If you think about it, when we hold the Torah, we hold it on the bottom. Perhaps, we do this as a way of saying that the words of the Torah lift us up toward the heavens. On Purim, we spin a grogger, a noisemaker, and, again, we hold the grogger from the bottom. Even the fringes of our Tallit are at the bottom of our prayer shawls, again reminding us that observing the Commandments that they represent will lift us up toward the heavens.
But to spin the dreidel, you have to hold it from the top. So instead of lifting us up toward the heavens, this simple game metaphorically spins our focus to bringing a bit of heaven down to earth.
That really came home to me as I read the latest novel by Mitch Albom titled, “The First Phone Call From Heaven.” And, as I thought about not being available to play Santa for a group of elderly residents, I wondered what kind of things they might tell me that they wished for most of all.
Reading Mitch’s book, I wondered how many of them would say that they would love to be able to talk to or to see a loved one who has passed from this earth. I wondered how many of them would cherish a phone call from heaven. Wow, what a miracle that would be. This is a season of miracles. But as a Rabbi and a Chaplain, let me tell you something, don’t wait until you are in heaven to make a call. There are those who you might not have talked to for a very long time for whatever reason, and they are literally dying to hear from you. Your reaching out to them might just bring a little bit of heaven into their lives.
This is The Season of Miracles, but it’s up to each of us to make sure that love is in the air. So, pick up the phone, make that call and make it a heavenly one on both ends of the line.
Shalom my friends,
Rabbi Craig H. Ezring
Rabbi Ezring is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach. We welcome you to join our warm and caring family for Shabbat and festival services. We’ll make your heart glow…who knows, you might even fall in love with Shul all over again.