Who Turned Out the Lights?

As many of you know, I’m a relatively new member of my synagogue. I’ve been going to High Holiday services for years and finally decided that this was a community I wanted to be a part of. Periodically, if my family is busy or not around, I will go to Shabbat services alone. I love the ritual, the clergy, the music. But as welcoming as this congregation is, I still find myself feeling lonely at times. I don’t have the shared history of the elders, who have raised children and grandchildren here. I don’t have the comraderie of the young families, educating their children, celebrating holidays, preparing them for their bar and bat mitzvahs. I don’t mingle easily, so I don’t make friends easily. I feel just a touch out of place. But tonight, on the seventh night of Chanukah, towards the end of the service, everyone received a candle and the lights were turned down. The Rabbi lit a candle and then with that candle, lit someone else’s and the light was passed through the entire congregation until there was nothing but a sea of flickering lights. Sitting in the dark, I didn’t feel like the odd man out. I was just a light in the dark. And when we looked over to the windows all of those lights were reflected back at us, “so we know, the Rabbi said, that we are never alone.” And I held up my flickering light and tried not to cry big, ugly tears. There is someone behind me to light my candle. And I, in turn will light the candle of someone in front of me. Until it’s no longer dark. Oy, Am I Wishing on a Star, Reversible Pendant


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