Yesterday we celebrated the second day of Chanukah. It was really nice and small with three people. We had supper together and then we decided it is time to light up the second candel. At first I had to wear a Kippa and saying a prayer with the others. Afterwards we lit up the two candles of the nine-branched Chanukah-Chandelier, the Chanukiah. Some might question, why it has nine branches, although Chanukah only lasts for eight days. The answer is easy. You have to light up the candles each night with another candle called “shamash” (attendant). So far I have no idea, why this is happening and for me it only makes sense, when you don’t have a lighter and only a few matches left, but it is still looking nice and a good tradtiton. Normally the “attendant” is placed in the middle of the Chanukhia and a bit above all the other candles. That does not make sense to me as well, because the attendant is of no importance to Chanukah at all. But this is actually the answer that was given to me. The attendant must not be necessarily placed above the others, but just somewhere else, because it has another goal. It is not a part of the Chanukah candles. For example should you not use the Chanukah candles for reading, but the “attendant” you are allowed to use. I really like this little details you have in rituals you can question to find deeper meanings of them.
Afterwards we played UNO and here it gets interesting. Of course UNO is not a Chanukah game. There is one, I will tell tomorrow about. As every family, they have developed their one ritual. I have with Christmas as well, that everyone gets his presents not immediately, but one by one. And this UNO is their ritual. They even have two more rules. When someone lays a seven, everyone has to switch cards to the neighbor in a circle and if someone lays down a zero, he can decide with whom he wants to switch cards. You should try it, because it is much more fun this way.
But this little rituals making this celebrations to a family event, that brings everybody closer together, even me, although I am not Jewish. But for me, this is the essence of what it should be about.