What do I do to prepare for Chanukah?
The first thing I do is figure out the candle situation. I mean afterall I always have extra Chanukah candles around. Although each box of 45 candles will be the exact number you need to get through the holiday for one menorah/chanukiah, I always have half used and unused boxes around. Why is that ? Well in truth I am not home every night of Chanukah. I sometimes light big public menorot for Chanukah like I will on Monday, Dec. 14 at 6 pm – 7 pm at Hollywood and Highland in the heart of Hollywood! A big fire and ice chanukiah and a great celebration with Klezmer music by the Ellis Island Band and stories and crafts for adults and kids alike (or just kids at heart).
Sometimes I light candles at our synagogue celebration like I will Friday night Dec. 11 at 8 pm and then again on Friday, night Dec. 18 for Kol Ami’s big 18th anniversary Chai on Chanukah celebration. The celebration starts as early as 6:30 pm but the candlelighting (bring your menorah) will be at 7:40 pm!
So I miss a few nights at home with our chanukiah collection! It is never just one menorah. But multiples. From the cute toy train menorah that was my son’s favorite when he was a little boy to the beautiful contemporary glass one that I enjoy, we do light multiple menorot on Chanukah. But we learned a hard lesson one year when the smoke alarms yelled out their high fever pitch.
We learned we better clean out last year’s residue or it can cause quite a bit of trouble.
So one of the most important preparation for Chanukah is not Aunt Sadie’s latke recipe–but cleaning off the excess wax from your menorah. Take it down from the shelf and before Friday night at sundown polish it up and clean it off.
Then you will be doing just like the Maccabees did. They too had to clean out the residue from King Antiochus in the ancient temple. They had to polish the golden menorah to make it ready for the rededication ceremony that would become the holiday of Chanukah. Clean out your chanukiah so that the glow of the lights of this holiday will bring out the warmth of friendship and the joy of understanding to all who enjoy the flicker of its flames!
Get to it. Clean it out! Happy Chanukah.