Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Today began with my last dance class. Since it was the last class, Daddy and Uncle Jeff were able to come watch me perform. It was very hard to concentrate, though, and I spent most of my time running back and forth between Mommy and Uncle Jeff and very little dancing actually got done!
My parents and I had some errands to run during the day but in the evening Uncle Jeff came over to help us celebrate the first day of Chanukah. Uncle Jeff is Jewish and so he decided it would be a good time to start introducing my parents and I to the traditions of Chanukah. For those of you out there who aren't familiar with Chanukah here is a little background information from
Chanukah -- the eight-day festival of light that begins on the eve of Kislev 25 -- celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.
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 G-d.
When they sought to light the Temple's menorah, 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 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 we also recite Hallel and the Al HaNissim prayer to offer praise and thanksgiving to G-d 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.
Uncle Jeff brought a menorah for me to "light" that was made of fabric and he also brought a traditional metal menorah for him to light. We also got to play spin the dreidel and then I got to open some of my Chanukah gifts since Mommy and I leave town before Chanukah is over. One of my gifts was a stuffed Chanukah doggy who is holding a dreidel. We nicknamed him "Gimmy" for gimmel - one of the Hebrew letters on the dreidel. My parents and I had a very special time tonight learning more about the Chanukah customs from Uncle Jeff and are honored he wanted to share them with us. Happy Chanukah!
Peyton Nicole Smith


  1. Good morning Miss Peyton,
    Your Uncle Jeff is a wonderfull
    friend to your was very thoughtfull of him to want to share the beautifull and inspiring religious tradition of Chanukah with your family this year.When you grow older, you will look back and remember this Christmas and know that the best gift you received from your Uncle Jeff this year,was one of love and tradition,and is truely priceless!
    Have a wonderful day sweetheart!
    Hugs and kisses,
    Granpa and Granma Mower

  2. Uncle Jeff is lucky to spend his Chanukah season with you, and it is no surprise that you enjoyed learning about Chanukah also. Even more gifts to spoil you with.

    I hope you realize what a LUCKY girl you are, in SO many ways!! You are well worth all the spoiling!