Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Menorah Story, Part II

Part I is here.

Chanukah that year was great, and I really had a great time. I realize now that it was probably Junior, not Senior, year - but either way the story is the same.

A few months later, everyone was cleaning out and packing away their things. I'm not sure if it was Pesach or the end of the year, but for some reason, I realized that I needed to put my menorah away. All my stuff was sealed already, and I didn't have enough room for it in any of them; so I asked a younger guy if he could put it in his box. He said it wasn't a problem, and put it between sweatshirts in a box to protect it. While cleaning out his room, he moved the box into a hall; meanwhile, I was shmoozing with other people down the hall.

A little bit later, I heard a commotion. The younger guy was furious - one of the workers had been taking trash out of the hall, and took his box with it. His box, which was clearly not garbage, and had a folded sweatshirt on top. His box, which had inside of it my beautiful silver menorah. The one I'd gotten as a bar mitzvah present, and which I had always loved. Sadly, there was not much to do: There were so many boxes that day, and if I recall correctly, the garbage trucks had come around the same time, and the garbage was all gone already.

The Yeshiva expressed sympathy, but there was nothing they could do. My menorah was gone, and gone forever. But what can I do - I have my own wonderful memories of Chanukah which I choose to remember, and that's what I'll do. Memories like taking a bus and long walk to Petach Tikva from Yerushalayim to pick up my grandmother; then bringing her back by cab to HarNof, where she had her daughter-in-law, 3 grandchildren, and over 20 great-grandchildren waiting for her to celebrate her 89th birthday. Memories like lighting in the entrance of our home, carefully locking the screen door so the frigid winds wouldn't blow the candles out. Or writing my name with candles as a kid, dancing through WITS with all our teachers, seeing the neighbors' menorahs shining through the Cleveland snow, or looking at the countless windows of every building in Neve Ya'akov with lights peering out. Watching child after child light at each cousin's home. Watching my aunt help my uncle, who has Huntington's, light his menorah - and the obvious happiness on his face to be able to do so.

Those are the memories I choose to remember. Have a wonderful, freilichen, Chanukah.

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