Rededication: a poem for this pandemic Chanukah

First candle…

It’s not like the Temple, sullied
by improper use and then washed clean
and restored to former glory.
This house is tarnished by familiarity.
Month after pandemic month I’ve circled
from bed to table to sofa to bed again.
I no longer see the mezuzah
on every door frame. Tonight
with one tiny candle I light another.
I want their little flames to galvanize
my hands to consecrate each room.
I sweep flour from my kitchen, affirming
here where I sing to my challah is holy.
So too the hallway where I hang coats
and newly-washed fabric masks to dry,
the bedroom with its pile of quilts
and rosemary plant in the window
struggling to make it until spring.
God, we’re all struggling to make it
until spring. Help me make this house
a place where hope keeps burning bright.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat


Originally published in Great Miracles Happen Here, Bayit 2020; click through to read excerpts and to download the whole collection as a PDF to enliven your experience of Chanukah this year.

Happy Chanukah to all!

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