I arrived home yesterday just in time to light Chanukah candles. We have a tradition of everyone lighting their own Menorah, so, since Avishai was home and Ariella wasn't, we had 5 "chanukiyot" going next to the windows. It's so beautiful. I had wanted to get one of the Chanukiyot that people put outside their gates, covered with glass...I think that they're lovely. It's so special to walk around on an evening during Chanukah and see these Chanukiyot lit up outside people's gates and doors. (The tradition is to "publicize the miracle of Chanukah", so people place their Chanukiyot somewhere where other people can see them burning). Next year....my unexpected expense of the month was a hot water urn for Shabbat. Our old one was blowing the electricity every time I plugged it in, and since the weather was COLD and RAINY for Shabbat, I didn't think that anyone would appreciate not having hot water for hot drinks all Shabbat. So there was no extra money this time.
On Shabbat, I had agreed to host 3 people from Ascent, the local youth hostel which sets up guests for Shabbat meals. I told them that I would be hosting 3 of their guests who had contacted me during the week -- a young man whose mother I knew 25 years ago in Detroit, as well as his 2 friends. They would be sleeping at Ascent, and would come to me for lunch. I guess that Ascent got confused, because I got those 3 people, PLUS 3 more! Thank goodness I'd done a good bit of cooking, but EVERYTHING was finished! No leftovers! That made me feel good.
After we lit the candles, I went shopping. The baked goods counter was MOBBED -- everyone wanted to buy some jelly donuts, the traditional food for Hanukah. I stood in line too, so my kids can't say that they were deprived.
I remember last year, when I went shopping after candle-lighting. At about 6:00p.m., an announcement went out over the loud-speaker..."we will be lighting Chanukah candles at the front desk. All customers are invited to join us". And all the staff abandoned their spots for 10 minutes, and a lot of customers left their baskets where they were, while everyone who hadn't lit already joined the store manager for the store candle-lighting.
Funny...I didn't think anything of it at the time, but last night, I realized that I had missed the group candle-lighting, and was kind of sad about it.