And Then Came Kislev


Light. A completely dark room, so it’s said, can be transformed by a single candle. Similarly, a seemingly hopeless situation can be altered by a small amount of faith.
This Kislev, like the Kislevs that preceded it, I witness all manners of anguish. In my family, in the families of people dear to me, and in the families of strangers, as brought to my attention by organizations that support Am Yisrael, I behold great tsuris. 
A woman suffers either from a brain tumor or from clotting in her parietal lobe. A man is jobless. A small child must endure either surgery or drugs that leave her unable to go to school, to eat, and to sleep. A family goes bankrupt.
As well, a youth drops out of school, a young adult gives up on shidduchim, again, again, again, plus an elder, a cherished member of a community, dies. Additionally, a middle-aged man endures a crippling injury.
In the background, rockets fall from enemy lands, despite international pressures to cease and to desist, or to at least to pretend to do so. Children scream all the way down to their bomb shelter.
Global heavyweights, meanwhile, dictate political strictures that make sense, perhaps, after quantities of absinthe, hookah use, or unrelenting insomnia. Nonobserver status gets decaled on a wild tribe without land, infrastructure, or local history.
Then my headset rings. A friend collects for cancer victims, works to fund more clinics here. Another mom raises money for children with diseases so horrible as to make military leaders cry. At our front door, a beggar asks for coins and then blesses the next in line, among our offspring, that he should marry soon.
Former colleagues remember me and each other across the Internet, through phone lines, and by snail mail. Someone’s sister yields a favorite dessert for someone’s brother. Eye glasses, orthopedic shoes, also canes get donated to needy individuals.
Tomorrow remains as unknown as bone marrow. Today, clouds intersperse with sunshine. Humming birds visit my window box. Last year, I hosted mosquitoes.
I think about my buddy, the one who had had back surgery and who now jogs miles. I reflect on the once unloved little girl who currently revels in a husband and three small children. I contemplate the oleh who couldn’t find employment in his former field, but who has, instead, built up a successful career in a new one.
Life is nothing like our plans, but almost always better than our expectations. Last Shabbot and this Shabbot are the darkest ones of the calendar. No matter, last week I lit candles and ushered in the Sabbath Queen.
This week, too, I will light candles and usher in the Sabbath Queen. What’s more, Motzi Shabbat, I will kindle my menorah.