Sunday, January 01, 2006


Today is the first day of the year according to the Gregorian civil calendar.

If you’re into Meaningless Religious Trivia, that would make it the day of Jesus’s B’rit Milah - his ritual circumcision. So it’s appropriate for Christians to celebrate the day with wine and cookies, maybe a nice catered bagel and smoked fish lunch. Or even a cold cut tray from the local deli.

For us Jews, until sundown, it was the first day of the month Tevet. It’s pure calendrical coincindence that the days of Tevet 5766 will coincide with the days of January 2006.

And this evening at sundown, the last day of Chanukah began.

Eighth Night
Haneirot halalu anachnu madlikin, al hanisim v’al hanifla-ot v’al hat’shu-ot v’al hamilchamot, she-asita la-avoteinu bayamim haheim baz’man ha-zeh v’al y’dei kohanekha ha-k’doshim. V’khal sh’monat y’mei chanukah haneirot halalu kodesh heim, v’ein lanu r’shut l’hishtameish bahem ela lir’otam bil’vad, k’dei l’hodot ul’haleil l’shimkha hagadol, al nisekha v’al nif’l’otekha v’al y’shuatekha.

These lights we kindle to recall the wondrous triumphs and the miraculous victories wrought through Your holy priests for our ancestors in days of old at this season. And for all eight days of Chanukah these lights are sacred; we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, but we are to look at them and thus be reminded to thank and praise Your holy Name for Your miracles, Your wonders, and Your deliverance.
[A technical note: The lights pictured above are NerLights olive oil lamps. They are little glass ampoules, each containing a wick and enough olive oil to burn several hours, sold in convenient sets of 44 - enough for all eight nights. To use ’em, you just crack off the tops of the ampoules and set ’em down in your chanukiyah, and you are ready to roll. No drippy wax...and they burn smoke-free, glowing with a beautiful warm light. Olive oil - just like Back In The Day, am I right?]

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