This was my father’s chanukiah – as he passed away in October, we had to decide whether to give away his chanukiah or to use it. We decided to keep it. The middle branch, called the Shamash (literally the helper), is broken off, and I plan to get it fixed sometime before the next Chanukah. I am hoping a jeweler can fix it. The photo above shows the candles as they were lit on the third night.
Here is the chanukiah on the last night of the holiday. You can tell it is the last night because one typically lights from left to right, and that chanukiah is going to get filled with light all the way to the very end! The other light in the photos are from our other chanukiot (or their reflections).
It is customary to eat foods with oil on Chanukah. However, one is not obliged to eat fried foods on Chanukah. Yes, yes, I will be serving latkes (potato pancakes) as well as sufganiyot (doughnuts, usually jelly doughnuts but we leave out the jelly). For this post, however, we will be creating salad dressing with olive oil. That way, one can fulfill the custom of eating foods with oil in a healthy manner (yes, first cold pressed olive oil, uncooked, is actually good for you). And why do we eat foods with oil on Chanukah? Because of the little vial of oil found in the Temple in the days of the Maccabees – the vial was only supposed to light the menorah for one day, but miraculously, it lasted for a whole eight days (thus, eight days of Chanukah).
So here are some salad dressing ideas:
Olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar, sea salt, turmeric, pepper and garlic powder
Chanukah is over, but I still have photos to share. My husband’s chanukiah has a spot for the shamash, the candle helper that lights the oil wicks underneath. It was nice that the chanukiah was built with a place for a candle, but did the designer have to put the candle directly above the oil cups so every year it bends over like this? It would have made more sense to put the candle holder on the side, although it would take away from the chanukiah’s “classic” look.
Chanuka is over, until next year, but I still have photos to share! This one is of the shamash; my husband and my three children are all holding their own as they say the bracha (blessing) before lighting the candles. The shamash is the helper and does not count as one of the 8 lights of Chanuka.
Yesterday I went to a lovely party. Some child had taken a whole plate of fancy chocolate candies and had nibbled exactly one bite out of each one. My friend the hostess was not amused. She considered putting up a sign: for adults only. I said maybe the parent should eat the candy if the child wants to try. Of course, then my daughter took one bite of a chocolate covered marshmallow candy without realizing it was marshmallow, and I had no interest in eating it. What do you think?
Our rabbi, Rabbi Bassous, gave 5 reasons why the rabbis chose to celebrate the miracle of the oil on Chanukah. An alternative question might be: Why emphasize the oil instead of the military victory?
(My apologies if I restate any of his talk incorrectly).
Humility: in crushing the olive to make the oil, we learn humility. We should learn to be humble in our lives.
Permeation: Oil permeates the skin if we rub it like an ointment. Just as Joseph was involved in Egypt in a good way, so we Jews should be involved in the world around us.
Water and oil separate: water does not mix with oil. We should not mix in and dissolve in greater society. Joseph was involved in Egypt, but he retained his Judaism.
Oil floats to the top: if we are good, hardworking people, we can rise above in society.
Light unto others: the lighted oil is symbolic of being a light unto others.
If you need further explanation or elaboration, feel free to ask the comments (especially if you don’t celebrate Chanukah or if you just don’t understand one part of what he said – I’m open to questions).