Chanukah is a strong reminder of one’s aveiulus. You stop serving as the chazzan; you do not partake in all the Chanukah festivities and parties; and you watch as everyone else rushes off to their Chanukah celebration. Of course, that is precisely the way it is supposed to be. Mourning means stepping out of the “normal” way of life and pausing for a year to contemplate the meaning of the loss of a parent.
It is easy to think of my mother on Chanukah. She loved dreidels; so much so that at some point in her life she began collecting them. Over the years she amassed quite a collection; large ones and small ones, silver ones and enamel ones, and many other types and sizes, as well.
Later this week I will have a chance to study her collection and spin her dreidels. We have signed a contract for the sale of her house and we will make our way up to New Jersey on Wednesday night to spend several days packing her house up so that we can close at the end of January. It is a relief to have the house sold, but painful to think of disposing of all her material possessions. Not that the vast majority of her belongings have any particular significance but disposing of everything is a rather bold statement on the finality of death. Surely various of her possessions that will be distributed to family members, but the vast majority of her belongings will simply be given away of or disposed of. So many items which had a place on my mother’s daily life have no use or place in ours. Another reminder of the meaning of life and death.
Before I get to New Jersey I have to travel to Columbus tonight for a two day meeting. I normally try to avoid travel on Chanukah but I had no choice this time. Saying kaddish means that I have to leave late tonight so that I can make shachris tomorrow and return late Tuesday night so that I can make mincha/maariv in Columbus.
Four more months to go of saying kaddish.