Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chanukah with the Rebbe Reb Yaakov Yisroel, ztz"l

An excerpt from Reb Sheya's book, Generation to Generation:

"Some of my most cherished memories relate to the Yomim Tovim (holidays), and I was fortunate that the modern super-industrialized commercialism had not deprived me of these experiences.

Chanukah Holiday by Boris Dubrov

The joy of Chanukah actually began several days before the holidays. Father (Rebbe Yaakov Yisroel) would use a beeswax candle to light the wicks of the oil-burning menorah (candelabra), and since beeswax candles were unavailable commercially, he would make them himself, eight of them, one for each night. He would also make one extra candle to put away for use in the search for chometz (leavened bread) on the night before Passover.
Father would buy a large cake of beeswax, and cut it into small squares. I was permitted to take a few of the sweet-smelling chips and play with them as with molding clay. Then he would soften the wax in a pan of hot water flatten them, place a thick string in the center for a wick, and roll them into thin cylinders.

After Father lit the Chanukah candles, he would sit and observe them for a half-hour, while chanting some of the Psalms with a melody reserved for Chanukah.

Mother (Rebbetzin Devorah Leah) of course served potato latkes on Chanukah, but I also had an extra treat. The members of the ladies' auxiliary of our shul had an annual Chanukah event, at which they served buckwheat pancakes. I was also the recipient of their bounty of candy and chewing gum.

Aromas and fragrances can be powerful memory stimulants. Even today, the fragrance of challah as it browns in the oven on Fridays transports me back to the Fridays of my childhood when the steaming, fresh challah, dipped into the hot broth of freshly cooked gefilte fish, constituted the ultimate in gourmet foods. The gifts that I received as a child on Chanukah have long since returned to the elements. I cannot recall a single toy I received on Chanukah. But I can still relive the candle-making, and when really well-relaxed in reverie, I can even smell the melted beeswax. I can see myself sitting on Father's lap and watching the Chanukah glow. The miracle of Chanukah was that a tiny bit of oil lasted for eight days. An even greater miracle is that the glow of Father's Chanukah lights have lasted for five decades.

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