TheChanukah lamp is full
The Chanukah lamp will be full tonight as much of the world enjoys their Christmas dinner.
The eighth night of Chanukah has always been special to me. The full Chanukiah gives off its maximum glow and has always conveyed to me a sense of completion. The fully lit chanukiah speaks to me of dreams fulfilled and not the aspiration of the previous days with their latent message, “There’s more.”
And yet the Chanukah candles burn quickly to remind us that the moments of fulfilled visions and dreams are fleeting indeed.
So, it is with life. We strive and occasionally, if we are fortunate, we achieve a milestone. It doesn’t matter which milestone It could be a victory in a game or even a championship. Maybe it is an aced test or an academic degree. Perhaps it is a new job or a big promotion. It might even be achieving the most important goal to which we can aspire: winning the person of your dreams as a life partner.
It doesn’t matter if it is a big dream or a small one. The feeling of triumph and completion never lasts. Soon we look for a new challenge. No matter what we achieve we continually ask, as Peggy Lee does in her signature song, “Is that all there is?”
Rabbi Simeon ben Zoma asked two thousand years ago: “Who is rich?” And he answered, “Those who are content with what they have.”
Maybe it is human nature that contentment is an ephemeral feeling.
But as I savor the beauty of the full Chanukah lamp and envision many others at their Christmas dinners, I can’t help but think: Wouldn’t it be nice if people of whatever religion spent more time celebrating and appreciating one another? Wouldn’t it be great if we could savor our joys a bit longer before turning the page and looking for our next challenge?