It’s unusual to be celebrating Chanukah on Christmas Eve. Yet unusual timing, given our Lunar Calendration, isn’t that unusual. On November 28, 2013 Chanukah and Thanksgiving were celebrated together. The next time those two holidays will be celebrated in unison will be in the secular year 79811; so I guess we’ll have plenty of time to prepare.
For as long as I can remember Christmas Day has always meant delivering Meals on Wheels with fellow congregants, a movie and of course, Chinese food. I can’t recall ever doing these three activities on the first day of Chanukah. (Though it did occur in 2005.)
Chanukah as we know is a minor Jewish holiday so the delivering of meals is absolutely appropriate. According to Dave Chafetz, organizing this year’s delivery, our member response has been fantastic. It’s good to do a mitzvah, to bring hot food and cheer to those less fortunate. And less fortunate many of the recipients are. Almost all are elderly, living alone and frequently in homes that lack sufficient heat, cleanliness and cheer.
It’s important for us to see how others in our society live. We often forget the needs of others as we go about our daily lives. Hunger, poverty and loneliness abound in both the rural and cities of Vermont. The delivery of a single meal will not end these maladies but it will make us more cognizant of their existence. Perhaps then this is the greatest gift we can receive this holiday season.
Rabbi James Scott Glazier