Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lionized Memories

My grandfather passed away before I was born.  

My siblings would talk of him fondly with teary eyes while I could not relate. One cannot miss what one never had.  

On childhood visits to Bàbi, when the adults chattered in Yiddish over my head, my eyes would wander over to the items in the china closet. 

On the high shelf, there was a menorah, each branch a lion. As an animal lover, I was smitten.  
During every visit to Bàbi, my eyes would be drawn to the menorah. I would gaze at it for an oddly long amount of time.  

When Bàbi died a few years ago, my mother asked if there was anything I wanted.  

"Zaidy's menorah!" I said quickly. 

She managed to smuggle it out of the apartment (thwarting my other cousins; in your faces!). For the first time I was able to analyze it up close. 

An industrious and idiotic cleaning lady had scoured the back with steel wool, but the front was relatively unharmed. It still carried that same allure that mesmerized a big-cat-crazy little girl.

While it is a poor replacement for actual memories, I can picture Zaidy twirling cotton balls into wicks, making the bracha in the same havara that my father learned from him, sitting beside it and looking happily at its light.  

Frelichen Chanuka, all.


Chanalesings said...

Happy Chanukah!!

Anonymous said...

For my bar mitzva I was given two things by my great aunt, her fathers (my great grandfather and the man I'm named after) tefilin and menorah. The tefilin cant be used due to age, but the menorah is in fine working order. This year is the first one in a long time that I'm gonna be home for channuka and be able to use his menorah. :-)

Princess Lea said...

Wow! Your namesake's menorah! That is amazing. I just hope I'll be able to preserve my own Zaidy's menorah so his own great-grandson can use it one day (my nephew, who is the most wonderful child).