Like many of you, this past weekend I celebrated Hanukkah. But on Sunday, I witnessed my 95-year-old grandmother celebrating Hanukkah with many of her great-grandchildren. We congregated in a park, opened gifts, and shared stories. My Nana watched the next generation of “Guziks” play games, giggle together and enjoy celebrating the holiday. As everyone gathered to leave, each great-grandchild waved goodbye to Nana and wished her a “Happy Hanukkah.” My uncle remarked, “This is good for them.” He meant that it was good for them to make memories with their great-grandmother. And I couldn’t help but think, “Yes, but really, this is good for all of us.”
This is good for all of us. Spending time with those that are younger and older. Creating shared meaning through ritual and tradition. Teaching our children that to be a member of the Jewish community means being part of something bigger than ourselves. Witnessing great-grandchildren celebrate Hanukkah with their great-grandmother reminded me of one of my purposes: to ensure the miracle of our family story continues through the next generation and beyond.
We often think we are creating memories for others. That the tradition of lighting Shabbat candles, going to Shabbat services, or putting on holiday celebrations are for others to connect. That in modeling behavior, we are instilling meaning and faith in our children. This is true. But engaging in tradition is also for us. Rekindling our own faith is something that can happen over and over again.
Creating a home filled with meaning…this is good for all of us. Ritual isn’t reserved only for the young or for the old. Let’s make memories, together, with any chance we get.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.