This year I have been wanting to deepen my connection to Chanukah and I connected with four Jewish women through conversation, to find new ways into this 8 day ritual. A ritual that, for me, was full of family love and fun, yet I sensed there were other dimensions.
So in the launch of my Podcast Purple Honey, I gratefully received the gift of female conversation. It was in this connected conversational space that I got to meet Judith- a Chanukah linked story I never had heard never heard before.
Judith was the strong, courageous and insightful woman who led her Jewish town from impending invasion into victory, by wooing the Greek General with her beauty, luring him into his tent and, while he was in a drunken stupor, sliced off his head! (WHAT the Whaaat??!!)
And I met Hannah, a tragic story from the book of Maccabees, where the daughter of the High Priest and her seven sons became Martyrs.
And then I learned about connecting to Hanukah through the SEASON- cold, dark, and windy- a season that is begging us to stay home, put on our fuzzy socks and put our feet up by the fire.
And then there’s the dark MOON. That is getting darker each night as our candles are ablaze.
And I rekindled my love of candles. Traditionally a ritual occupied by females, Chanukah invites everyone to light and everyone to build. And as Rabbi Sarah Tasman taught me- when we all build form the deep dark depths of what makes us, US- this is called our Chochmat HaLev or “wisdom of the heart”.
Summary: There are so many moving parts to Hanukah, so many connections we can make, and as a custom based holiday we can do ALL the THINGS we want.
So here, I embrace all the THINGS through a Taste Meditation.
Here’s how I am going to try it out: After lighting each night, I will have a bite of food. Each bite of food represents a part of the mosaic we call Chanukah and in saying a food blessing and tasting, we literally internalize what the essence of Chanukah feels like to us on that particular night.
Here are my 8 bites in 8 nights. I am going to intuit which order I will taste these each day.
Feel free to add your own bites and make this yours!
the food Judith fed Holofernes, the Greek General, which made him thirsty for wine which led to Judith slicing off his head.
To sustaining light in ourselves, within our families and in our communities.
Sitting with the dark moon and the dark nights.
Welcoming the sliver of moonlight we see at the end of Chanukah.
Honoring the round moon and imagining the moon dark then all lit up.
Hugging our own inner light, our Chochma Lev that creates from Gratitude
Pesto on Toast
To the oil that sustains and moves us towards our vision.
To the sweetness of Community and Connection. To the women in the Chanukah story and to the women in our lives that supported us and made us who we are today. To helping lift up other females.