Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wonderful Italian Custom Connecting Tisha B’Av with Hanukkah

How can we take a traumatic event and give it a hopeful spin? Ask Italian Jews and they’ll give you the answer. Next week when you read Eicha – Lamentations – on Tisha B’Av in your synagogue by candlelight, don’t throw out the candle when you’ve finished the reading and blown it out. Take it home, wrap it up and store it in a safe place. Come Hanukkah, remove the candle from its wrapping and use it as the Shamash candle for lighting your Hanukkiah candles. What’s the logic behind this custom? On Tisha B’Av we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple, but on Hanukkah we celebrate its rededication. Italian Jews use the candle to close the circle and to end Tisha B’Av on an optimistic note. Learning from history never hurts and in these tumultuous times an upbeat message is exactly what we need.
Have an easy fast…Tami