AH, Chanukah. Walking through or driving through a black velvet darkened nightime Chanukah neighborhood wreathed in light is really one of my favorite things.
I just love seeing the lit up menorahs framed by the windows of different apartments or homes.
Back in Jerusalem, I would meander through Rechavia, Nachlaot, Meah Shearim and through the cobblestoned Jewish Quarter in the Old City seeing the various chanukiyyot and just soaking in that holy light.
Even here in Denver it is such a pleasure to happen upon a Jewish home and immediately identify it as such by the glowing, foggy glass window lit up by the Chanukah candles.
Of course, as a little girl, when I first moved to Denver, I mistook the advent lamps as Chanukah kindlings and assumed Chanukah is simply a very Jewishly observed holiday. Oh, the innocence of childhood.
There is something about the pirsumei nisa, the publicizing of the miracle dimension of the Chanukah lights that is very special. As each Jewish home proudly and openly displays its lit menorah, with full access for public viewing, there is something so encouraging about this. Aside from the obvious Jewish pride, there is a message in it to anyone who sees it. The glowing candles whisper out to the night to all of us that, yes! Its possible! Miracles really and truly come to be!
UNLIKE many of our other Jewish holidays, Chanukah is relatively free of serious obligations (its just the menorah lighting, the festive Hallel prayer in the morning and the Al ha-Nissim added to Grace After Meals. As a friend of mine put it, it is the only Jewish holiday that is not about some form of repentance.
Another friend was approached by the relatively new concierge in his building who asked when he should turn on the Shabbos elevator on should it be for seven or eight days?