Chanukah (Hanukkah) is the eight-day festival of light that begins on December 4th. It celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.
During Chanukah it is customary to give gelt (money) to children, so that they can be taught to give some of it to charity.
This year, for our family gift exchange, we are giving to the charity that is important to the person whose name we drew. For me, the choice of my charity was difficult as I believe in many causes. Hunger, (Food Banks, etc.) self-sufficiency, (Heifer International), animal rights, (Humane Societies), medical research, (ACS and Alzheimers), wildlife and nature conservation, (Nature Conservancy, Dawn's flock rescue).... you get the drift.
Giving feeds your soul and is tax deductible. Give charitable donations a try this season.
So today, as you eat a latke (fried potato pancake), open a Kosher wine. Celebrate the miracle of the one day's supply of lamp oil that lasted eight days. Try the 2006 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc. It is light golden in color and very aromatic. Nice acidity that will cut through the oiliness. The taste is very similar to a Sancerre.
I will leave you with a Hanukkah blessing that is spoken over the menorah tonight.
"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion."