Hanukkah Last Night- Which was the first night

I am grateful for the holiday season. I thought I was ready to go. I placed my menorah on the side table because I hadn’t removed all of the Thanksgiving decorations from the dining room  table.

I looked up the prayers because I don’t have them in my long term memory bank. I got out my candles and had an overwhelming sense of grief. It was unexpected. Yesterday was my aunt’s first birthday not here on this earth. We spent so many holidays together. Facebook reminded me with a photo from two years ago. It was the 28 of Nov. 2019. My aunt shared our Thanksgiving and her birthday with us. It was the last time she celebrated her birthday in my home. Covid deprived us of the next two. 

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah. 
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who makes us holy with your commandments, commanding us to kindle (light) the Hanukkah lights.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, she-asah nisim la-avoteinu v’imoteinu bayamim haheim bazman hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in those ancient days at this season.

Hanukkah Blessings #3: Shehecheyanu
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

I did not light the candles last night. Instead, I sat in quiet contemplation. I thought about the family and friends who sent me holiday greetings. I am grateful that I have caring people in my life. I ate the two pieces of my favorite See’s Candy my cousin brought me. I opened a sweet gift from my dear friend. I read my holiday cards. Then I wept for the loss that my heart felt for all my loved ones no longer here.   

My post from 2019 is here. where is talk about attempting to make blintzes. Another is here. In 2020 for the first night I found world view prayers to add to each night when lighting the candles. In 2018 I wrote about preparing for Hanukah with books, music, and my menorah collection.


Today was a better day.


Day 60 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Second Night – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for the second night of Chanukah. The candles on my table make me happy. The memories bring me joy. 

The second light is the light of the Torah. Israel’s book of law has brought learning and truth to all of the western world. “The commandment is a lamp and the law is a light.”

I am grateful that I can share my holiday. I decorated the staff workroom at my school today. I had two menorahs, candles, lights, children’s books explaining Hanukkah, and treats. Each year since my mother’s passing I have done extra special things for my staff to celebrate Hanukkah.  Today I put out complicated coloring pages and cookie cutters. At the end of the day there were very few left.  It is funny because the cookie cutters are Xmas holiday cookie cutters and winter cookie cutters.  

I am pondering a wish of mine today. I would really like to have an outdoor piece of art made to represent a menorah. It would be a combination of things that bring me joy. I once found seven large outdoor stands, but I would have needed two more and one that was higher than the rest. Something to ponder for the future. 

On this second day I finished boxing up the rest of the packages to be sent off in the mail. I think I only have a few more that haven’t arrived here to send. I then placed them on the front seat of my spouse’s car so he could mail them tomorrow. My Tuesday is especially busy as I have a staff meeting and then an evening meeting. I won’t have time to do more than breathe after school tomorrow.     


I have finished my lesson for tomorrow and gifted myself with the time to watch Big Bang Theory. My guilty pleasure makes me happy.  I should be making matzo ball soup for the staff tomorrow, but I am too tired. So instead I will have out dreidels for them to take. 

How to Play Dreidel –  The Hebrew word for dreidel is sevivon, which, as in Yiddish, means “to turn around.” Dreidels have four Hebrew letters on them, and they stand for the saying, Nes gadol haya sham, meaning A great miracle occurred there. In Israel, instead of the fourth letter shin, there is a peh, which means the saying is Nes gadol haya po — A great miracle occurred here.

Playing with the dreidel is a traditional Hanukkah game played in Jewish homes all over the world, and rules may vary. Here’s how to play the basic dreidel game:

  1. Any number of people can take part.
  2. Each player begins the game with an equal number of game pieces (about 10-15) such as gelt pennies, nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, matchsticks, etc.
  3. At the beginning of each round, every participant puts one game piece into the center “pot.” In addition, every time the pot is empty or has only one game piece left, every player should put one in the pot.
  4. Every time it’s your turn, spin the dreidel once. Depending on the side it lands on, you give or get game pieces from the pot. For those who don’t read Hebrew, some dreidels also feature a transliteration of each letter. If yours doesn’t, use the photo below as a cheat sheet:
  5. a) Nun means “nisht” or “nothing.” The player does nothing.
  6. b) Gimel means “gantz” or “everything.” The player gets everything in the pot.
  7. c) Heymeans “halb” or “half.” The player gets half of the pot. (If there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player takes half of the total plus one).
  8. d) Shin(outside of Israel) means “shtel” or “put in.” Peh (in Israel) also means “put in.” The player adds a game piece to the pot.
  9. If you find that you have no game pieces left, you are either “out” or may ask a fellow player for a “loan.”
  10. When one person has won everything, that round of the game is over!

Reprinted with permission from A Different Light: The Hanukkah Book of Celebrationpublished by the Shalom Hartman Institute and Devora Publishing.

geltI remember playing with the grand-kids. They usually had the most fun just learning how to spin it. We always played with chocolate gelt.  It was a struggle to find dark chocolate ones for daughter #1.        I prefer the dark chocolate also.


Dreidel Song here and Dreidel traditional song. I am grateful to have music in my life. Dreidel in Israel





DAY 56 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Being Caught Up – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for being caught up. I know it is a temporary situation and that it won’t last, but for a fleeting moment in time I am all caught up. 

 My quizzes are graded and recorded. I gave treats today for the many many perfect scores earned. I entered the scores for this weeks assignments. During my classes today we corrected last night’s homework. Then we reviewed for tomorrow’s test to make sure everyone was prepared. I was not looking forward to rainy day procedures as that means kids eat in the class. Luckily the sky cleared up at the last moment and lunch was outside. So during lunch I rewrote the test for tomorrow and ran both versions. After school I cleaned all the white boards in my classroom. Then I washed the tables and the counters. I answered a couple of important emails and checked my teacher mailbox. I wrote the lesson plans for next week and updated my school website. I am grateful today was a day of accomplishment.  I don’t have  anything to grade tonight. I do still have to prepare paperwork for a student who will be out for the next three weeks. But I can get that done tomorrow morning. (I think)

I came home just in time for the rain to start pouring on my head. I don’t melt in the rain so I wasn’t too worried. I fed the dog a few treats and threw her toy a few times. My yard work is caught up and now mother nature is taking care of my watering duties. I am so grateful for the gift of liquid sunshine. 


 I invited my hubby to go with me to my doctor’s appointment so we could do dinner afterward. We got there early and I was taken in early. A true miracle. I am grateful because we left the doctor’s office before the time I was scheduled to go in.

We were able to go to an early dinner because of the gift of time. I am grateful that the restaurant was not crowded. I have to avoid perfumed people so I don’t have an asthma attack. The food was very good and because we went out to eat I am caught up with dishes. LOL   


I have purchased the majority of my Hanukkah presents  and have sent off         most of my far away gifts.  I will make my lists tomorrow and finalize my purchases before Sunday evening. I am grateful that even though I did not finish before school started as is my practice, I am still on top of completing my holiday necessities. 


I am grateful that my holiday is early this year because once it is completed I can spend time making the Christmas gifts I want to create. Such a season of happiness. I am grateful for the baby steps I accomplish to keep joy this most difficult year. I am grateful for the use of positive thoughts, meditations, journaling, pod casts, and literature to help me move forward. I am grateful that I am caught up with all that I can do today.