The Festival of Lights Started Early This Year, On My Face.

As a parent, you don’t always know if certain ideas, information, and traditions you are trying to instill in your kids are actually “in there” until something is unexpectedly said or done that makes you grin from ear to ear.

Today in religious school (I teach second grade, and the younger boy, my 13-year-old, is my teaching aide) we were talking about Hanukkah, since it’s fast approaching. I was explaining to my students that we load the candles into the menorah from right to left. So, on the first night, there is one candle on the far right and then the helper candle–or “shamash”, or “shamus”–is, well, wherever the hole for the helper candle is (it’s different on all menorahs). On the second night, there are two candles on the far right, and so on. When we light the candles, we light the helper candle first and light the newest candle before the older ones.

To summarize, we load the candles from right to left, and light them from left to right. Get it?

Anyway, I asked my son if he could draw a representation of what I was telling the class. I said, “Do you think you can draw what I’m saying, using the menorah that we *always use*?” Although I collected menorahs for a while (as decorations; we never lit them all! Can you say “Fire Hazard”?) but stopped after we ended up with way too many, we have lit the same menorah for as long as I can remember. My Grandma made it out of ceramic, and I guard that thing with my life. I adore it. It is this family heirloom that is my own personal symbol of our Hanukkah celebrations, and I never knew whether it made an impression on anyone else in the house. Anyway, as teen boys aren’t notoriously known for their attention to detail, I wondered how he’d do with the drawing, especially after not having seen the menorah in a full year.

I’ll tell you what, you be the judge. Here’s his drawing, on the chalkboard today.

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Here’s the real thing.

Bet Grandma loved that.



  • Mom24

    When Jason got married we gave him and Lori the first menorah we had, my parents had given it to us when we got married. I still miss it. I love Menorahs.

    Yours are beautiful, and I love the dreidels too.

  • k a t i e

    You gotta admit – that’s some fair attention to detail!

    I’m looking forward to more Jewish holiday related – and educational – posts this year!

    I’m subtle, right?

  • Melissa

    Holy cow, he couldn’t have gotten much closer if he tried, huh?

    I’m thinking about lighting some candles this year. Hope has been asking me a lot about traditions other than ours (thank you, school).

    Now I jsut need to start studying up on Kwanza….

  • Melisa

    Stacey: We used to collect dreidels too. 🙂

    Katie: Alright, I’m on it! I’ll try to be creative about it; wouldn’t want to get too educationally boring…

    Weaselmomma: Thank goodness I had my phone/camera. Apparently it takes much better close-ups than far-aways, like at the salon!

    Melissa: I know! How cool was that! I think it’s great that schools these days are opening up those doors a little bit. Some parents worry about their kids moving away from the religion of their family, but I think it’s unwarranted if you have built up a strong base. I think it’s a great lesson in tolerance to be educated about the way others do things. We actually talked about Kwanza this morning too, but I don’t know enough about it to say much! (gotta go read!)

    MM: I know! And, I wish I could remember what he said at some point during class (unrelated to my post), but I started laughing and then he started laughing, and his little laugh is so cute that it made me laugh more, and…good times! 🙂

  • Michelle

    Well, technically he didn’t include the Hebrew inscription, but …. 😉 Seriously, that’s some pretty good paying of attention for him. And some pretty nice ceramic work by your grandmother! I can see why you treasure it. Unfortunately we have no crafty people in my family, so there is no heirloom anything to pass down.

  • Melisa

    Michelle: OMG, we ARE the same person!!! After I finished glowing about his drawing, I whispered to him, “You know there’s Hebrew on it, right?” He said yes but couldn’t remember what it said, so he couldn’t duplicate it. No biggie.


  • Melissa

    LOL! I must be the same person because I thought the same thing…but since I don’t read Hebrew, who am I to judge…;)

    My grandparents best friends were Jewish…I’ve sat through many a Seder dinner…turns out I may actually learn from you what was going on there.

    Now tell me, where do I get a menorah? From what I hear electrical ones are not preferred (yeah, I was doing a little reading myself).

  • Birdie

    hey Melisa! Long time no see *S* I found you in Momo’s followers tonight. Your son did a great job! Heirlooms are fabulous. Treasures for sure.

  • Kat

    Great attention to detail would be an understatement. I want to come to school with you and learn more about the “jew stuff” ROFL.

    Thank God you’re educating me on here. It’s much more fun than reading some boring facts because to your family’s traditions I can relate.

    Had no idea you put the candles on in one direction and light it from another.

  • Dea

    Awww! What a sweetie! I love that he remembers it in such detail – but I’m not surprised. Boys are very sentimental, I’m finding out!!! Check my blog later today for more on my own kid’s sentimentality!!!

  • Andie

    that’s awesome.

    again, a testament to how good a parent you are!

    that is a beautiful menorah! i love the whole celebration of Hanukkah and what it symbolizes. What a neat heirloom!

  • Anonymous

    From Dawn:

    Great attention to detail. The menorah that your grandmother painted is beautiful.

    I have many ceramic Christmas decorations that my grandmother painted years ago that I cherish. I’ll show them to you when you come down for NYE. 🙂

  • Susan

    Great drawing. Fabulous menorah. We have one for everyone in the family, and a collective one for the pets, which means we light seven menorahs every night of Hanukkah. It’s probably not safe, but it sure is beautiful.