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Focus, Don’t Do Anything

צילום: מנדי הכטמן, פלאש90

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Four days of Chanuka have already passed, four days of candle lighting, and I have kept my commitment: not to do anything.

In our frenzied times, this is quite a task. On Chanukah, women are accustomed not to do any work for the first half hour after the candles are lit. We are meant to put our cell phone’s and every other preoccupation aside and just focus on the flames, on family togetherness, on Chanukah itself.

This is what Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi has to say on the subject:

“Once it was easier to just sit for a while beside the menorah. Not to deep fry jelly donuts, not to change disposable diapers, and not to serve anything to anyone. Simply to sit. Try the following: have a conversation beside the menorah, sing, pray, laugh, be silent, just look at the candles. What is most lacking in the world? Peace of mind. 

You want to send a text message to someone but then forget to whom you are sending it and why. You march determinedly into your kitchen but then suddenly wonder: ‘What exactly was I looking for?’ So sit down and just look for half an hour at the candles, at yourself, at those around you, and see how much you have. Look at what you have and not at what you lack. Stop trying so hard, running around with the thought that the light you are seeking is somewhere else. That light is here, right beside you. Look into the flames and you will gain insights that are completely new. Just look at them. That’s all you need to do. Don’t miss out. Don’t destroy these moments by doing anything else whatsoever.”


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