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Festival of Lights

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The story of Chanukah is the story of a miracle.

(Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, she‑asa nisim la‑avoteinu ba‑yamim ha‑heim ba‑z'man ha‑ze.)

It is the story of a temple, seized and then re-taken, that needed to be purified; of one day's worth of oil burning for eight days, an impossibility that could only be a miracle. It is the story of remembrance, lighting candles to remember that miracle, displaying those lit candles to the world so that others may remember too.

(Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel hanuka.)

It is not the most important day of remembrance in their faith, but it is one of Edie's favorites, and she shares that joy with her son. The shamash she lights by hand -- literally, brushing one finger against the wick so that it blazes with light -- and then the remaining candles, one for each day of the festival so far, she lights with the shamash.

"Will I be able to do that one day, Mama?" Erik asks one year, gazing at her with wonder in his eyes.

He does not mean the candles, she knows.

"Perhaps." She cups his cheek. "Or perhaps you will have an affinity with something other than fire."

His eyes light up at the thought.

"Remember, such things are our secret," she reminds him. "In this house, when it is just you and I, we may speak of it." She holds out one hand palm-up and lets a little sprite of fire flicker on top, burning with no fuel: another miracle, and one that is available to her for longer than eight days. "But to others--"

"Silence, I know," he says impatiently, with a swift grin in her direction.

(Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam...)

He is not a demonstrative boy, but when Edie smiles at him and gestures, he comes and gives her a tight hug. "I love you, Mama."

And Edie watches the Chanukah candles burn, and murmurs love to her son, and wonders what miracle will be bestowed on him.