First Night

Oy, all those last-minute errands before any holiday...

Today's brought me to Natural Foods for zucchini (I plan to try them for latkes,) then back to the hardware store for the correct size of LED lights for the menorahs in the front windows...(two:  one according to Hillel, adding lights; one according to Shammai, starting with eight and subtracting.)  It is quiet and solitary; even Mazal the cat has been curled up, very private and non-social.
I lit the little menorah for real candles, the private one,  on the kitchen island.
Since this is a holiday that celebrates miracles, freedom, and the retention of a national character (at least for a while,) I figure it is an apt time to pray for all of those elements that are under threat and needed more than ever in our own country and time.

When I step back from the emails, from the computer, from the news and the brouhaha, I feel the difference between Then and Now, Before and After.  
Then:  people were spontaneousy in and out of our house during any holiday.
Now:  no-one.
Then:  the two of us would talk about the significance of the holiday to each of us and to our larger society; no two years were exactly the same.
Now:  not.  I spent two more hours writing letters and signing petitions and leaving phone messages, and praying that the power of the holiday influence the retention of freedom for the internet.
Then:  the smoke alarm would go off regularly during the eight days as we experimented with potato latkes.
Now:  we'll see how the zucchini latkes turn out.

But before that, I think I will go to the neighbor two doors down, the one who shoveled our walk for years early in the morning after snows, without letting us know who it was till the year of the flood.  And I'll bring some goodies for his kids.

Happy Chanukah.