Why Chanukah is such a special time for me

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By Lindy Diamond, Editor Cape Jewish Chronicle

It’s my 13th wedding anniversary in the second week of December and we were married on the 6th day of Chanukah, so this holiday of light and resilience and miracles is interwoven with our life story.

It took us five weeks after meeting to decide we wanted to get married, and 13 years to get to the point where we know each other well enough to decide which points are worth arguing vociferously and which are better left with an eye-roll and a deep breath. That’s a very special place, and a massive energy-saver, I think.

The past 13 years have gifted us three incredible daughters, (ptu, ptu, ptu), two beautiful homes (one at a time) filled with a balance of quirky knickknacks, paintings of boats and traditional Judaica, and one motto to practice and teach our children. Love and Light. So, in honour of my anniversary, and Chanukah, I gift you the story my husband told our guests as part of his wedding speech 13 years ago, with a small tweak to the feminine, because I can.

The story goes that there was a king who had grown old and was looking to see which of his three daughters should take over the throne. The eldest daughter was a natural leader, strong and brave. The middle daughter was really smart and great at arguing a point and the youngest daughter was kind and gentle. Who would be the best suited to rule the kingdom?

The king decided that whichever of his daughters could fill a small room in the castle completely and utterly to capacity, would be worthy of ruling.

The oldest daughter went first. She chose to fill the room with rocks. She carried huge boulders and threw them into the room. She shoved pebbles in between and when there was almost no room left, she poured grains of sand into the cracks. When the king came to see his daughter’s work, he was impressed. “You may yet take my throne,” proclaimed the king and he ordered the room to be emptied for his second daughter.

The middle daughter, who was smart and quick, decided to use paper. She found reams and reams of paper. And piled the room high. Then she crumpled sheets of paper into balls and pushed them into the spaces left behind. Tiny little scrunched up pieces of paper filled the gaps. When the king came to see his daughter’s work he was doubly impressed. “Your sister still had little holes between the rocks she chose to fill the room — the paper you have used has filled the room far better — you may yet take my throne,” and he ordered the room to be emptied for the third daughter.

Being a gentle and kind person, the youngest daughter was unsure of how to proceed. She couldn’t use rocks — that just wasn’t her style and she couldn’t use all that paper — that wasn’t how she operated. The third daughter took a candle and lit it and flooded the room with light. The king, and even the older sisters, could not deny that the room was filled to capacity with warm, glowing candlelight, and the king had found his worthy successor.

We have used the message of this story, that Love and Light is always the better choice, as a family motto and as a raison d’etre in our professional lives. This world, and our community, needs kindness and light far more than criticism, righteous indignation and loud shouty voices.

This is my message for a beautiful, peace-filled Chanukah and holiday season. Rocks and paper may feel like a good way to fill a room. But nothing does it quite as well, and as beautifully, as light.

Chag Urim Sameach!

Published in the print edition of the December 2020/January 2021 issue.
Download the Dec/Jan issue PDF here.

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