Besides the U.S. Thanksgiving, people around the globe are celebrating the Jewish eight-day festival of light and purity, Chanukah (Hanukkah), which started sundown November 27, 2013 through December 5, 2013. This is a celebration of triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, and of spirituality over materialism. The history of Hanukkah begins more than twenty-one centuries ago. The Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.
When they sought to light the Temple’s menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah (candelabrum) lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.
On Chanukah the Jewish people also add the Hallel and Al HaNissim in their daily prayers to offer praise and thanksgiving to God for “delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few… the wicked into the hands of the righteous.”
Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil — latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts); playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, “a great miracle happened there”); and the giving of Chanukah gelt, gifts of money, to children. Click here for the complete story of Chanukah.
(My gratitude to Chabad.org for the information posted.)
- Chanukah 2013: Festival of Lights (kzlam36.wordpress.com)
Counting my Blessings!
a poem by Dr. Angi
(Angela Kowitz Orobko, Ed.D.)
I am blessed to be alive,
to have all ten fingers
and to have all ten toes.
I am blessed to have
the gift of sight and
to smell wonderful fragrances
with my beautiful nose.
I am blessed to have
two sturdy, supporting limbs
that are attached
to my nearly perfect feet.
I am blessed to have
the gift of a caring heart
that is healthy and warm
and never skips a beat!
I am blessed to have
two strong arms
to hug and embrace
and carry a load.
I am blessed with
two wonderful hands
that allow me to wave,
to paint and to write this ode.
I am blessed with a great family:
supportive parents, a loving sister,
and an amazing husband.
I am blessed with all the people
in my life, from all over the world, the internet
and in my community whom I consider friends.
I can go on and on with an inexhaustible list.
But I know you get the idea that I FEEL so very, very blessed!
I am profoundly grateful for choice. Did you know that a person always has a choice in anything, whether one chooses to see it that way or not? Choice is defined as a thought process of judging the merits, worthiness or quality of multiple options and selecting one of them. Funny thing is that every person always has at least two choices: to act or not to act on any given issue or situation. The challenge lies in seeing the choices when one is feeling stuck. Other challenges with choices include having to make a hasty decision and fear of making a choice because of possible unpleasant outcomes.
How can one work through the challenges surrounding choices? One obvious solution is for a person to decide NOT to choose, select, decide or opt at that given moment. A person has the choice to sit with his or her selections in order to weigh his or her options until he or she can make the best choice for his or her situation.
How does a person find more choices? An individual will need to take a broad look and view his or her situation from a different perspective in order to see more choices. It is only then these selections become apparent. Case in point, one is challenged with a new policy at work with which he or she does not agree. Most would see as having no choice.
There are actually multiple choices presented here: 1) comply with the new policy; 2) ignore the policy, apologize and face the consequence; 3) speak with the policy-makers and see if the policy can be amended; 4) seek supporters against the policy and file a petition; 5) seek new employment and resign with a two weeks notice. After stepping away from the issue or challenge where one feels he or she has no choice, many apparent options begin to emerge and present themselves when one uses his or her objective lens.
Sometimes a person just needs to have faith that he or she will be making the right decision. One needs to face his or her fear of the outcome, take the risk and make a selection. Examining the worst case scenario and deciding that it is not so bad after all can be an excellent way to decide and choose. I deeply appreciate choice and having the wisdom to see the multiple choices I have in my life.
- Limitless choice (tomvanels.wordpress.com)
- The paradox of choice: Stop looking, start living! (marlonuvt.wordpress.com)
I deeply appreciate hugs! A hug is like ice cream or candy for the heart and soul! It is that delicious, warm and loving embrace that displays the affections of another compassionate and caring being. I feel that hugs are best when they are unexpected. Incoming…..surprise hug! Those really make my day!
Hugs do not have to be reserved for other people. You can wrap those lovely arms around yourself as well as others and squeeze! Go ahead. Go on! Do it right now!!! (((BIG HUG!!!))) You have been virtually hugged by me! (Big grin) How did it feel? Virtual hugs feel almost as good as the real thing.
Have you ever spontaneously hugged someone you do not know? I have. Those are the best because there are no expectations attached and because it was unexpected. That is what I call a double blessing. I challenge anyone who reads this blog to hug at least one person they do not know before the New Year. I bet it will be appreciated. Go on and be a hugger (and not a bugger). Hugs!
I am extremely grateful for music. No matter what my mood is music will alter it, usually for the better. It never ceases to amaze me how music transcends all languages; furthermore, it has been said that “music has charms to soothe the savage breast. ” This phrase was coined by William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, 1697. Here is the original verse from which it came:
Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I’ve read, that things inanimate have mov’d,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform’d,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!
‘Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night
The silent Tomb receiv’d the good Old King;
He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg’d
Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom.
Why am not I at Peace?
Incidentally, William Congreve (1670-1729) was an English playwright and poet. He wrote some of the most popular English plays of the Restoration period of the late 17th century. By the age of thirty, he had written four comedies and one tragedy, The Mourning Bride (1697). (From: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7008439-the-mourning-bride )
Back to the topic of music…in my own experiences with music, I know that when I have been tired, music re-energizes me. When I am anxious, music calms me. When I am sad, music makes me happy. When I am restless, music relaxes me.
Lullabies have been used to lull babies to sleep. Music has been used to set romantic moments. Music is magical. That being said, music can also stir negative emotions, like fear and sadness. Some music can simply get on your nerves. However, I am certain much of that has to do with preference, as well as, state of being at the moment.
I deeply appreciate music. As we approach the holidays, music plays a significant role in setting the tone of the season and illuminating many joyful memories of holidays of yore. What effect does music have for you? Do you have any favorite tunes for specific times in your life?
- Viii° Kind of Music: Electronic Music (leziafusaro.wordpress.com)
- Music can change your life (zcarreno.wordpress.com)
- “If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On…” Music and Frontotemporal Degeneration (deborahthelwell.wordpress.com)