As we all know, beyond the candle lighting, the gift giving and all the cooking, Hanukah is the celebration of a miracle: the double miracle of an unlikely victory and of a bit of oil that didn’t stop burning.

Miracles are often understood as a sign that G-d is on our side. And so He is. But having
G-d on our side is sometimes not quite enough. We are also expected to do our share to help « miracles » happen.

This year celebrate Hanukah by bringing miracles into your life. Here are 8 suggestions:

  • Day 1: Before you light the first candle, decorate the room where the hanukiah is set up. Install additional lights, use perfumed oil, do whatever will make the room look festive and happy to you and your guests. Hanukah is a happy holiday. The first miracle is the joy your family and friends will get from gathering in a beautiful setting.
  • Day 2: If you haven’t done so on the first day, today is the day you can distribute gifts to the people you love. Gift giving has become a tradition for Hanukah and it is a good one. The gifts do not need to be expensive but they should be thoughtful, maybe even handmade. The pleasure you will get out of giving something you have made yourself will be a lasting one – like the burning of the miraculous Hanukah oil.
  • Day 3: Cook a good meal. Again this is about experiencing the fabulous pleasure of giving. Make latkes. And watch your guests delight in the sharing of a great time.
  • Day 4: Call someone you haven’t seen in a long time to wish him/her a Happy Hanukah. We all have busy lives and sometimes neglect to nurture friendship. Reconnecting – even briefly – with someone you love, letting them know you still think about them even if you haven’t kept in touch, will bring lasting joy into your life – and theirs.
  • Day 5: Listen to a piece of music you haven’t heard in a long time. More than anything else, music has the miraculous capacity to take us back to times and places by recreating a familiar atmosphere. Whether you want to induce happiness or pure nostalgia, listening to music in a sure way to get there.
  • Day 6: Take time to look at old photographs. Think of all the good times in your life. Think of everything you can be grateful for. Again let your feelings get the better of you and get in touch with yourself by reconnecting your past.
  • Day 7: After feeling grateful for what you have, think of the areas you could improve in your life. Pick one where you are going to make changes. Empower yourself. Realizing that in the end you are in control of your own life and that you and only you can make things happen is the most important miracle of all.
  • Day 8: Now that you are ready to make changes and are happily basking in the warmth of the holiday and the flickering of the 9 candles, call Simantov … and experience the miracle of love!

Happy Hanukah!