Homeshuling

Homeshuling


Have an oily Hanukkah

posted by Homeshuling

Every year, I spend a few weeks drooling over boxes of fancy-schmancy Hanukkah candles – you know, the beautiful beeswax, hand-dipped kind that don’t look like fruit-flavored twizzlers. I ruminate for a good long time over whether or not to spend $10-$15 on each box of candles. Then, before I know it, it’s about five minutes before Hanukkah starts, and I’m forced run over to the supermarket and buy the fifty cent variety. With at least 5 broken candles per box guaranteed. So much for hiddur mitzvah.
This year, a children’s book reminded me of another beautiful, and perhaps even better, way to fulfill the mitzvah of lighting the chanukkiyah. Harvest of Light, a non-fiction book by Allison Ofanasky, tells the story of how olive oil is made, as it follows one Israeli family from olive harvest to the Hanukkah table, explaining the process with simple language and beautiful photographs. What I love about the book is that it explains an important question raised, but rarely answered, by the original Hanukkah story. Why did that small flask of  oil have to last for eight days? Why would it take so darn long to squeeze little oil from some olives? Now, we know.
The book also reminded me that while oil is arguably the central symbol of the holiday, it usually plays a fairly limited role in our observance, as a medium for frying latkes and doughnuts. I don’t know about you, but when I’m eating fried foods, the miracle of Hanukkah is not foremost in my mind – it’s somewhere far behind clean-up, calories, and yum (but not Yum-o.)So, this year I’m determined to make our celebration a little more olive-oily.
Tonight, the first night of Hanukkah, falls on Erev Shabbat, which means that the menorah should be lit early and last longer. The perfect opportunity to light an olive oil menorah. Tonight, we’re filling two shot glasses with water, olive oil and floating wicks, and lighting a menorah that will, I hope, actually remind us of the lamp in the Beit Hamikdash. Plus, I don’t need to run to the store, because we always, always, have plenty of olive oil in the house. (Pictures to follow!)
To further the mitzvah of “publicizing the miracle” I’ve also decided to buy bottles of gourmet olive oil as Hanukkah gifts for the adults who are celebrating with us this year. To that end, I’ve asked my brother, professional writer and non-professional foodie, to write a guest post on fine olive oils. (Not, mind you, F-I-N-E-E-V-O-O.) I’ll post it later today, because, you know, I’m late to work.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(5)
post a comment
An Oily Hanukkah to All! «

posted December 11, 2009 at 9:32 am

Judi

posted December 11, 2009 at 10:30 am


several wonderful ideas! Chag Sameach!



report abuse
 

Becky

posted December 11, 2009 at 11:04 am


Rachel Ray can kiss my grits!



report abuse
 

Mrs. G

posted December 12, 2009 at 12:09 am


My daughter pulled that very book from the library shelves and insisted that we check it out. It’s been my favorite Hanukkah book this year and she loves it too. We actually got to see someone press olive oil last weekend, which was really interesting. It all makes so much more sense to me now . . . (are the floating wicks widely available? Our Judaica store is closing its doors this month).



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Homeshuling . This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Truths You Can Use Inspiration Report Happy Reading!!!

posted 9:57:03am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Teaching the Four Questions to young children
One of the greatest privileges of being a kindergarten teacher in a Jewish day school is having the opportunity to teach children to recite the four questions. Unlike almost anything else I teach them about Jewish ritual, this is "real work." The candles will get blessed, kiddush will be recited, an

posted 7:36:03am Apr. 01, 2012 | read full post »

Guess what's Kosher for Passover (this will change your life.)
I'm not exaggerating. The bane of my Passover existence has been pareve baking. I cook a lot more meat during the holiday than I do the rest of the year, which means a lot more pareve desserts. Which has, up until now, usually meant margarine made from disgusting ingredients such as cottonseed oi

posted 5:02:27pm Mar. 22, 2012 | read full post »

Why I love the New American Haggadah (and it's not just because I got to have a martini with Nathan Englander.)
I'm not a haggadah junkie. I know many Jews whose shelves are overflowing with numerous versions of the Haggadah - from the traditional Maxwell House to the not-so-traditional Santa Cruz - and whose seders are an amalgam of commentaries, poems, and (alas) responsive readings, from these dog-eared, p

posted 9:25:37pm Mar. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Best Hamentashen Ever, even better. And, a Purim opera.
This time of year, I'm always excited when I look at my google analytics and see that people have landed at my blog by searching for "hamentashen recipe". I love the idea of people all over the world making my great-grandmother's fabulous hamentashen, the same ones my mom made with me and that I mak

posted 7:13:38pm Mar. 05, 2012 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.