Sunday, December 25, 2011

OCHO KANDELIKAS, pt. VI: ner shel tzedakah

HANUKKAH 2011/5772, sixth night
For several years, there has been an effort to recognize one night of Hanukkah as ner shel tzedakah (the light of righteousness), reminding us during our celebration that our real job as members of the human family is to strive for justice for all. For example, some families choose one eve on which, rather than exchanging gifts, to make a joint contribution to a worthy cause.
Today, our family had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer at the Center for the Homeless, along with our dear friends Mark, Susan, Ethan and Mayah Sandock. We helped clean in the kitchen, stock food in the storage pantry, and eventually to serve meals to guests, helping make sure their holiday was sweet and enjoyable.
While there, a reporter from one of the local stations came to do a story about volunteering on Christmas. As exciting as it was for a few of our kids to be included in the interviewing - it was fully more meaningful to hear them share thoughts about why they were there: "it makes me happy to be able to help others celebrate their holiday;" "I recognize how fortunate I am, and I can give back by helping others who might not have what I do;" "I'm very luck to have the life I have, and I can share with the less fortunate." As a parent, as a rabbi, overhearing these comments is a great gift for this sixth night of the Festival.
(And be sure - the requisite Chinese food was partaken afterward :)
Thanks to the Sandocks for sharing such a lovely day with us!

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