WHEN YOUR OIL IS RUNNING LOW

Today was one of those days that you usually hear mom’s kvetch about. Except that today, mom was out of town. On an early flight to Atlanta for a family celebration. So I was mom. 

Today began, well really today began last night. All parents have such days, when it seems that all that can go wrong, will.

One kid woke up with fever about an hour into my nap (calling it a night’s sleep would be overstating things) complaining of a sore throat. After settling him, the coughing began with another one of the children. It really didn’t stop. Still hasn’t. Post nasal drip is what we were told again and again.

There was a bar mitzva scheduled for this morning so I was grateful when I managed an early doctors appointment. Wasn’t as grateful when they 2 kids came back strep positive. 

Then the whirlwind began, baby sitter, bar mitzva, older kid to the bus, Chanukah party in Boston, dinner baths, Menorah etc.

I had really looking forward to lighting the entire eight candles of the menorah. To me this has always been my favorite time of the holiday, the culmination of an awesome holiday. I don’t always get sentimental, but this is my thing. 

Bleary eyed, I gathered the kids around and we lit the candles. However one of my wicks just wouldn’t say lit. I lit it and re-lit it again and again but it wasn’t working. I pushed the wick deeper into the oil hoping that it would absorb more oil, perhaps then it would light, but that too didn’t work.

I then pulled the wick out more, even though the bottom of the wick would no longer reach the bottom of the oil glass (meaning it would burn less time than the others) but this way at least it would stay lit.

It worked. In fact it worked so well, that now that flame was larger than the others. Then it hit, me. 

What to do when your oil is running low? When you feel like you’ve run out of fuel to keep your flame lit, what can you do? Most people (myself included) try to bring the flame to it again and again. But if the fuel injector is not working, it still won’t light, no matter how many times you try. Then, common sense would be to stick the wick deeper into the oil trying to immerse yourself in your source of inspiration thinking that this should for sure work. But alas, this too does not always do the trick.

Sometimes, you have to trust that the fuel that has been previously injected is sufficiently potent.. Rather than go back for more inspiration – pushing the wick back into the oil – trust that the given inspiration is enough to keep your flames lit. Pull that wick a bit further from the source. See if it will light and stay lit? See if you have now mastered the message of the lights of the holiday, not just to light them but for them to be lights that are oleh me’aleha, are self sustaining lights. 

In all likelihood, you will find, particularly on this 8th and final night of Chanukah, that the light has so permeated you and your candles that when you pull it from the source, not only will your candle light, but it burn better and brighter than before.

Is this not the whole point of the holiday of lights? To take that light and bring into the cold bitter winter that follows?

This last day of Chanukah is called ZOS Chanukah, meaning THIS IS Chanukah. And well, isn’t this exactly what Chanukah really is all about?

Trust yourself and try it.

Blog post 11/52

Picture credit – Mordy Schusterman

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