Don't even think about it ringing my blog for tsedukah. I'll tell ya, this here 9 inch plastic plate holds my entire paycheck in coins. I juggle employment with motherhood; a part time office position that pays me just enough to keep my Chanukah charity fund afloat. Given that I started digging the gold mines at age 17 with a high school diploma (going for a major in Hilchas Shabbos) I can truthfully say my job's job is more to protect my sanity than to dress me in minks.
Eight Days Chanukah is the time I pause the hubbub of daily life to celebrate breadwinning.
It's called Chanukah Gelt.
Coming up, is the only holiday we actually work. 9:30 on a Chanaka AM in my office cubicle, I go about my daily life. I grab a bite of my sandwich, enter figures in QuickBooks but I somehow find myself day-dreaming over the children's faces. I can see my eldest especially; his dark eyes alive when his father hands him the $5 Chanakah earning. Oh, what do the children know about bosses, language barriers and taxes? What do they know about overworked, overtime and underpaid?
They'll know, in due time. For now I want to teach them that although we hustle through a fair amount of our life working, we can still spend the evenings gathered around a warm fire. After lighting the candles, we all sing muez tsuir, in what must be the most horse-crackled choir, but with every note I feel a growing sense of indescribable happiness. My husband tied up with the traditional thin gartle holds the little one on his tapping lap as she eagerly claps her dimpled hands together...The oh-so-grown misters, their tin menorahs burning over the windowsill, they shukel from side to side with the rhythm, a real example of deveykes. .
Deep inside me I feel a candle's flame igniting.
I just love Chanaka.
At night I serve latkas of my own making, customized with jam, custard or confection sugar as per individual order. I hum to them a Yom Tov Erlich song, one my mother would sing to us every Friday Night, while we watch the color candles extinguish one at a time.. For a special treat, there's distribution of chelkas around the dining room table, all bakers donning aprons. We mix flour and sugar, margarine and eggs and knead, roll and shape some delicious menorah themed vanilla cookies. Even Yoelish gets creative with the melted chocolate and sprinkles fiasco.
There's laughter. There's love. There's birth to memorable moments. All after a full day of gelt...
It's the 8 day miracle. A lesson to burn a whole year.
A WARM CHANAKA TO YOU AND YOURS!