Light on Hanukkah

Hanukkah video talk for Santa Barbara, November 2009
by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi


Sacred Time Consciousness
Hanukkah: Not Just for Kids
Lost Sanctity: A Crisis
Sanctuary: Alive and Conscious
Waning Daylight
Elu V’Elu
Miracles and Habits
One’s Own Perspective
The Aesthetic Dimension
Gaian Awareness

Sacred Time Consciousness

Our calendar is our catechism.  This phrase was often said by Reb Samson Raphael Hirsch, (z”l / may his memory be a blessing), the advocate of Modern Orthodoxy, (i.e., an Orthodoxy that, along with religious developments, also embraces scientific and cosmological findings of its day).  So learning about the calendar can teach one about Judaism in general and make one a healthier Jew.

Hanukkah: Not Just for Kids

We often talk about Hanukkah in a way that fits better for children than adults and so we may not quite get to see its Kavvanah at depth, (i.e., its real significance to us adults), because we have infantilized people so much around this holiday.

Lost Sanctity: A Crisis

It is very hard to survive as a spiritual person without having access to a sanctuary

Now on the deep, mystical level, the sanctuary is within; it’s in the heart.

On a larger scale, there is a social  level of sanctuary.  This has to do with Rupert Sheldrake’s theory about the morphogenetic field.

[Note:  As a living phenomenon, Judaism’s development is influenced by its morphogenetic fields, a term from the Greek, “giving birth to form.”  Thus, our individual dreams for a better reality are rooted in a field outside of us, a part of a shared dream field, here called “the social level of sanctuary,” which notion helps cut through seeming barriers to connection.  (Notes by Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor)]

We, along with fellow Jews,  are in unseen fields of active mythic energy and mythic dimensions.  In order to be able to manage our way past all the messages that are being drummed into us through the media, the very aspect that we need comes when we can access the morphogenetic fields beyond the intellectual level.

Another level is sanctuary of Gaia, the planet.  While Wall Street and the transnational corporations push us to become avid consumers of that which our mother the Earth produces, they also remove from us a natural sense of sanctity for the planet.  For example:  I’ve never seen an advertisement for a breakfast cereal emphasizing an appreciation for the earth’s holy “birthing” of her grain. 

The net result of this lost sense of sanctity spills over to us having trouble connecting to the sacred in our lives in general, a crisis, of sorts, in need of fixing.  Hanukkah can help.

Sanctuary: Alive and Conscious

In the times of the Hanukkah story, the sacred was located in a specific space, namely, the Temple in Jerusalem.  From that place, a beam was broadcasted that would orient us to God.  When the Temple was there, Jews would “log on” spiritually from that very place, would get their “sustenance,” would calibrate “being with God” into a good place, would be shown sacred ways of being on the planet. 

Later, when the Greek Hellenists desecrated the Temple, the broadcast went “crazy.” 

To visualize what it must have been like, imagine that someone has messed with the atomic cesium clock here in Boulder.  The clock sends out a signal used all over to synchronize all clocks to the same time.  If this clock were compromised, everything would “go crazy!”

It was as though the Greeks jammed the broadcast of adonai echad–that God is one. All of a sudden here came Zeus and Hera with the entire pantheon of Greek deities.  Pigs were offered on the altar, etc., and Jews didn’t know what to do anymore.

It would have been very easy to turn disoriented Jews away from Judaism.  Thankfully, there were some people like Mattathias and his sons who then felt that unless we got the Temple purified and re-sacralized we would not be able to survive as the people of the covenant with God.  So we celebrate the fact that they succeeded in re-dedicating the Temple and lighting the menorah. That basically is the story behind the story of the victory of Hanukkah.

So what can we do today when we don’t have a Temple?

Well, we can recalibrate ourselves with what Heinrich Heine called the Jews “portable Fatherland.

[Note:  In German, “Aufgeschriebene Vaterland,” and referring to our holy Torah.]

The spiritual country in which we live is called the Torah and while it is not a physical place, it is a meetingplace of awareness and of consciousness for a covenanted community.  For instance, a few weeks ago, we were reading about the demise of Sarah and, all over the globe, wherever there were Jews, we were meeting in the same Torah place. In other words, it was not a physical place, but it certainly was a spiritual meetingplace for us. Such shared meeting allows us to recalibrate ourselves and to affirm the values we want to keep even without a temple.

So how does a meetingplace become a sanctuary?  This question is addressed by one of our great rabbis, Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel

(He was the great-grandfather of Professor Abraham Joshua Heschel, and he is also known as the Ohev Yisrael / lover of Israel):

who describes the following:

When Moses built the sanctuary in the desert he used a certain kind of oil to anoint the sanctuary walls and, when he did that, the sanctuary came alive.

According to Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, the initiation happened through the shemen ha-mish’chah / the anointing oil.  They anointed all the surfaces of the sanctuary and through this anointing the sanctuary “came alive.”  And when the Menorah was lit, the sanctuary became “conscious.” 

[Note:  Cf., opening lines of Parashat behaalot’cha (Numbers 8:1-4) where the lighting of the Menorah was the first action after the consecration of the altar.]

Thus, the anointing made it into the sanctuary and the lighting of the Menorah made it conscious.   

Now this is an idea that seems very hard for us to get.  But imagine you have a computer.  When you plug the computer in, the computer comes “alive” and when you put in the system files then it becomes “conscious:”  I.e., it can handle the things that you want it to.  It interacts with us so it is experienced by us as something conscious. 

In this analogy we can understand how a sanctuary becomes alive and begins to broadcast.

Now the problem which they had at the time of rededication after the purification was that the sanctuary was not conscious because there was no menorah burning.  So they had to find the oil to be able to light the menorah.

After they found one cruse of oil, the question became, “Should they light it right away, or should they wait seven days?”  (It was to take seven days to make more oil and then they would be able to keep it lit continuously.) 

The wonderful thing is that the people didn’t have patience. They said, “We need a God fix” right now!  So they lit the menorah right away.  And because they did that right away, because they had such a fervor that they could not wait even one week, the miracle occurred!   (Watch this, because we are going to talk more about “The Miraculous Order.”)

The miracle occurred.  The menorah burned for all the eight days until the fresh oil could be made.  Thus, the Temple could now broadcast again.  This is how we understand the depth of what the Macabees accomplished.

Waning Daylight

Here is a story that helps explain the time of the year we celebrate this holiday: 

The rabbis told us that when Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden and they saw how every autumn day the light became more and more diminished, they started to be afraid that the time will come that all the light will be gone. So they began to light fires to try and bring it back. So for eight days, they lit the fires until they saw the day was getting a little bit longer. This has been connected with Hanukkah. Therefore at the time when we are at the lowest level, we start to light candles. 

Hanukkah is celebrated during the last waning phase of the moon of the month of Kislev.  Also, with respect to the solar time of the year in the northern hemisphere, it looks also like it’s a  darkened time.  One can say that we come to the lowest place of the year during Hanukkah because of the darkness.

And when Christians celebrate Christmas, (and there are many scholars who have said that Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th December suggesting, perhaps, a similar situation), they too have looked for a dark time for this celebration, placing it on the 25th of December, so close to the Winter solstice, and a down in the moon time, as if to say, “Oy, it is very dark. It’s a bad time; it’s a depressed time of the year.”

So we are not alone.  There are others who have seemingly induced depression and made it a part of the celebration.

Elu V’Elu

Now, how many candles do you light?

There is an argument going on between Hillel and Shammai.  Hillel says:  Begin with one candle the first night and with two candles the second night and so you build up to eight candles.

Why? Because Hillel was a humble person and he says you begin with what you can handle. You can handle one thing and then you can handle two, so ma’alin b’kodesh and then you begin to grow in holiness step-by-step.

On the other hand, Shammai who represented the elite, said: “No, no. What you need at such a point when you’re way at the nadir of the year is you need to light eight candles and gradually you can reduce it to seven and so on.”

Now there happened to be another argument between Hillel and Shammai around the havdalah candle. It goes like this:  What blessing do you make over the candles of the havdalah?

We say, following Hillel “Borei m’orey ha-esh.” Thank you, God.  You make the light in many, many colors.  

Shammai was saying, “Borei m’aor ha esh.” There is only one light.

So according to Hillel you have to have a Havdalah candle with several wicks. According to Shammai one wick is enough.

Now let me say what this means to me: When Hillel says that there are many colors to light, he was talking about the spectrum. That is so important, because if you look at Judaism today and there are some people who say, “Everybody has got to be like Chabad;” or, “Everybody’s got to be Reform;”  or, “Everybody’s got to be Orthodox;” or, “Everybody’s got to be. . .” 

They all want you to be of one “color,” but Hillel was saying no, Kammah gavney ikka b’nura. There are many kind of colors in there. (That was also an inspiration for the way in which I made that tallit of many colors–of the rainbow colors too.)

If you and I have a disagreement, it may not be a disagreement about essence. You see the blue truth and I see the yellow truth, and together we make a green truth. So colors are important.

In our home I have two electric menorahs near the door. They shine to the outside. One is the menorah made to remind of some of the teachings of Hillel.  It has colored bulbs.  The other is a menorah of Shammai and it has white bulbs. The white bulbs begin with eight and go down to one and the one with colors begins with one and goes up to eight. So I have both Hillel and Shammai’s teaching there. As the rabbis have said:

אלו ואלו דברי אלוקים חיים

Elu v’elu divrey Elokim chaim (Eruvin, 13b). Both of them speak for the true God, the words of God.

Miracles and Habits

Now, how long should the candles burn?  The rabbis had a big discussion about it and one of the phrases about it is:

עד שתכלה רגל מן השוק

ad sh’tichle regel min hashuq (Shabbos, 21b), until people stop walking on the street.

Now on the Hasidic/Kabbalistic side they go a little bit deeper, all the way back to the place where Moses is in front of the burning bush and God says to him: Shal n’alekha m’al raglecha: Take your shoes off from your feet.   They study this on the mystical level and look for deeper meanings of the word.

Na’al can also mean a lock, like a padlock. No’el delet, to lock a door.

Regel, foot, is also related to the word hergel, habit.

So God says to Moshe, (in effect), “You want to know what you’re seeing over here? You won’t be able to see it if you keep a lock on your habits. If you can get rid of your habitual apperception by taking the lock off your habit, then you will see what’s behind the burning bush and you’ll be able to hear the voice of God speaking to you.” 

In other words, if you keep your habits you will not have access to the miraculous, but if you unlock your self from the habit, then the miraculous order is real for you.

One’s Own Perspective

So now, coming back to Hanukkah where it says:

רגל מן השוק

regel min hashuq: [the miraculous order becomes accessible] as soon as you take off the habit from what you desire: t‘shukah

So you have to really unlock yourself from your habitual way, what Zen people would call “see things with new eyes, beginner’s mind” to see the unexpected and unprecedented.  It is not going to fit into what you have known from the past; you need to see it altogether fresh. So what happens is that when you can get away from seeing things with the eyes of utility only then it becomes possible for you to see it in the miraculous order.

What’s the blessing that we make? Baruch ata hashem elokeynu melech ha-olam she asa nisim la’avoteynu bayamim ha-hem bizman ha-zeh.  You have made miracles happen for our ancestors at this time, at this season, when things seem really very bad, when the moon is low and the sun is low and it’s cold.  So we wonder:

Will this economy ever get better?

Will the tzores that we have spread our military between Iraq and Afghanistan and other places in the world abate?

And there are so many homeless and so many people out of work–will there be a change?

It takes the miraculous order of,

“Yes we can!”

to be able to make that shift.

For most of the time, for those people who hold on to the lock of their habit of, 

“No!.  It’s not going to change!  It’s always going to be the same!”

they may not be able to experience the miracle.

Hanukkah refreshes for us the entrance into the miraculous order by taking the lock off our habits. 

How do we go ahead and create that sense of the miraculous–the ability to see the miracle? This is an issue related to contemplation.

Most times when we see something new –people feed us the news, as it were, in ways that we are so used to.

It takes real work inside of ourselves to say, “No, I don’t want to get it in the package in which others have wrapped it for me. I want to see it anew.  So I can light the menorah as an affirmation of my own perspective.

[Note:  When we look for experts to explain things for us, we are sometimes reducing contemplation and thereby stifling the development of our own thoughts and perceptions.]

The Aesthetic Dimension

And where is the menorah located? Here comes something beautiful. The rabbis say:

מזוזה מימין ונר חנוכה משמאל

mezuzah mi’yamin ner Hanukkah mis’mol (Shabbos, 22), the mezuzah is on the right hand (above) and the Hanukkah candle has to be set on the left side (below).

Those of you who are into kabbalah know that the right hand (above) represents chesed, God’s grace and the left leg (below) is called hod. We find ourselves on Hanukkah in that axis that goes from grace (chesed) to beauty (hod).

Now as we said before, there is a certain answer [to the question of where to find the miraculous order]: “When you’re doing business as usual, then you will not see anything new.”  So the Rabbis want to sneak in something new, a new perception.  How do they do it?  They do it with an aesthetic way.

Many people used to say about Hanukkah that among the Greeks, it was the holiness of beauty; the Greeks said that beauty is in itself holiness.   The Jews said, “No, we are talking about the beauty of holiness,” i.e. beginning with holiness leads one to a certain kind of beauty that shows what a thing is behind the façade of what one perceives.

As I mentioned, we have the mezuzah on the right and the Hanukkah menorah below on the left, because Hanukkah is associated with hod, beauty.  Now I’m going to translate this into a different way of understanding.

Have you have ever been in one of those large synagogues in Europe or e.g., Temple Emanuel in New York, or even certain cathedrals, (e.g., Rheims or to Chartres, etc.)? There is something that we experience there as we see the grandeur, the beauty and the splendor that takes us out of our usual ways.  We can get a notion of what it must have been like for people of earlier times who were living without much color, wearing only drab homespun in brown and gray and coming in the morning into a cathedral that was facing East with the sun hitting the Rosetta window, e.g., with all its color and they would be blown out of their minds. It would be far out–you know—that’s a psychedelic thing that they saw.

What did it mean? It meant that the door to the soul that was closed because of the everyday troubles they had was opening up because of the beauty that was there.

So I would like to make sure that when you set up a place for davenen, that you do this with some beauty. I’m giving you an example. If it were up to me, I would make sure that in every synagogue there would be a large lobby, a foyer, where people can gather before entering into the sanctuary.

The foyer would also have a place where one could wash one’s hands. Most people don’t wash their hands this way when they come to shul today.  But in Europe, every shul would have a way for one to wash one’s hands, (just as the Catholics have the holy water to sprinkle upon themselves and to make the sign of the cross).  It’s a preparation.  If you want to talk stay out there.  But if you come about 15 minutes before the service, you come and sit down and have some beautiful music played to open you up to another dimension, to take off the lock from the habit so that when the service begins you are in another place already.

So you enter into a reality that is not the reality of the shopping mall. You are in a reality that has to do with holiness, “Take the shoes off your feet, you’re standing on holy ground,” which is another way of saying: let beauty open you up to become sensitive to enter into the sacred dimension.

Here is where I want to say, “Oy!”

For so many generations we have been in the shtetl and we didn’t have much beauty.  I think of something I saw in the Museum of the Diaspora in Tel Aviv.  Have you seen the wooden synagogues in Poland and the decorations there with instruments of music and scenes from the holy land and the animals that were there, reflecting the words that you should be as fleet as a deer, as strong as a lion, have chutzpah like a leopard and fly like an eagle.

They had all these things because they wanted to give people some beauty.  And I would like to make sure that we do that again.

You know many synagogues today are using Powerpoint to free the hands from the siddur. Especially if one is singing and dancing, one doesn’t want to have to hold anything in one’s hand.

(Way back in 1974 in San Francisco before Powerpoint, I had overhead projectors and freed the people from having to hold a siddur so they could celebrate and dance. That was wonderful.)

So can you imagine that while that music is playing you have some beautiful landscapes projected as a preparation for the service.  And then the service begins.

So Hanukkah reminds us of these things, to bring beauty back to us, because Hanukkah represents hod.

The lack of aesthetics keeps us from being energized by vital myths.  Most of our lives are so prosaic, so down to earth, that we don’t see ourselves anymore as cells of the global brain.

Gaian Awareness

We are enabled to live our lives because of our connection to Gaia.  She has made a space for us, and if we don’t switch our perspectives to make space so that our awareness shifts toward the ways our mother the earth is sustaining us, if we still think that the human being is the top and should rule and control everything, then we miss the point. Our mother the earth wants us to change.  She is hurting all over.

I’ll give you an example. I’m now in my little room and I’m praying and I’m allowing myself to be invaded, as we invade our mother, to feel what our Mother the Earth must feel.  I go with my mind all over the globe and I can’t find a single place where it feels good. Everywhere, whether there is “emphysema” because of the pollution of air, or “blood poisoning” because of the pollution of water, or “pains” of people’s suffering from AIDS and death, etc.

Now I just allowed myself to get into that for a few seconds and I want to tell you, it was overwhelming. The pain was overwhelming.

If we want the life of the planet to continue, we have to become more sensitive to that. We have to open our hearts and our doors to that and to get some beauty together because the beauty is the model that says how it can be and how it ought to be and if we have such a model, such an ideal we will be able to do it.


So Hanukkah is here, and we remember the contemplation of the candles. The formula says:

הַנֵּרוֹת הַלָּלוּ אֲנַחְנוּ מַדְלִיקִים עַל הַנִּסִּים וְעַל הַנִּפְלָאוֹת וְעַל הַתְּשׁוּעוֹת וְעַל הַמִּלְחָמוֹת, שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה, עַל יְדֵי כּהֲנֶיךָ הַקְּדוֹשִׁים. וְכָל שְׁמוֹנַת יְמֵי חֲנֻכָּה הַנֵּרוֹת הַלָּלוּ ֹקדשׁ הֵם, וְאֵין לָנוּ רְשׁוּת לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהֶם, אֶלָּא לִרְאוֹתָם בִּלְבָד, כְּדֵי לְהוֹדוֹת וּלְהַלֵּל לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל, עַל נִסּיךָ וְעַל נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ וְעַל יְשׁוּעָתֶךָ 

We light these candles for the miracles and for the signs—and all the salvation and the freeing that we experienced from God’s help—those things that You did for our ancestors in those days at this season of the year.

All those eight days of Hanukkah, these candles are sacred. And we have no right to make use of them.

An example:  If someone said, “I want to light a cigarette off a Hanukkah candle,” that would be a desecration of it. 

And just as we say, “we can make no use of the Hanukkah candles,” that’s why we have to have the shammas there. What’s a shammas do? The shammas gives us the light by which we can still do things.  But from the Hanukkah candles we can’t. They are only to be looked at

Now most of the time people light the Hanukkah candles and then, instead of really going to that place where they say, “Why are we celebrating?,” forgive me, but they eat the latkes, doughnuts or whatever they have on hand, they go right away for the presents, they rush right away to the presents and the latkes.

I had the opportunity of being with the Bobover Rebbe when he lit the Hanukkah candles.

There was a full half-hour in which he and the Hasidim, (who, by the way, always loved to talk and to sing), were silent. All they did was look at the candles.

You can imagine what happens when you free your mind from all utility, all usefulness, and say,

“I just want to look at light, the light outside, the light inside, the light outside, the light inside.

“I want to see more.

“I want to be lit up.

“I want to be enlightened.”

Get the idea? To be able to spend that half-hour while the candles are burning.

And I want to tell you something:  If you can do this with the kids, you can say, “Yes, you’ll get your presents, but look at those candles.”

What do the candles tell you?

Look deep into the candles.

See the composition of the flame, some of it is blue and, what’s the stuff where it is dark inside near the wick?

What is the stuff where it becomes invisible on top?

The more people get into what the candle tells, the deeper it goes.

Gazing at the Hanukkah candles opens the door to the miraculous order.


Now I want to talk about the dreydl.

The dreydl has four sides. 

How many of you have ever used the I Ching? Okay. So you know when you make a hexagram, you have old yang, old yin? Old yang is sort of the nine. Old yin is six. Young yang is the seven and young yin is the eight.

From time to time when I want to consult the I Ching, I use a dreydl instead of the thing because it gives me those four sides. If you understand the business of the I Ching, it may sound funny to you, but it has to do with the divine name: yud, hey, vav, hey.

In kabbalah, the yud is called abba / the father, the hey is called ima / the mother, the vav is called ben / the son and the hey is called bat / the daughter. If you look: father, mother, son and daughter–you have the I Ching again with the old yang, old yin, young yang, young yin. This is how I do my consult of the I Ching.

So why did people start playing dreydl? It was a fancy way of giving tzedakah.  Poor people would put in a penny; rich people would put in a dollar and no matter how many times it turned out that the poor man would lose, if he won once, he would make up the difference quite well. So it was a way of giving tzedakah to people.

One rebbe walked in and saw the Hasidim playing checkers. They were a little bit ashamed and they said,

“Oh, rebbe, you caught us.”

He said,

“It’s okay to play checkers. You have to know the rules. One move at a time and when you reach the other side, you can go wherever you want.”

Can you can understand what was behind his words?  In the beginning of your spiritual work, it’s one step, one move at a time. When you come to the other end, you have achieved the greater awareness, the enlightenment, and you’re able to go anywhere you want.

Tzedakah, Hanukkah gelt is a very important part of Hanukkah and also to make sure that people who need warmth, heat are cared for. When I lived in New Haven, Connecticut in 1946, in the shul, people would offer around a ton of coal to people who had nothing for the winter.

So Tzedakah is very important around Hanukkah.

The other thing is, of course, you have to have the kids have fun and to play with the kids in such a way that they’ll understand, but at the same time always bring them back to that quiet before the menorah. Then you will be able to do it again the next night and the night after.


Why do we eat latkes? The answer is in the story about Yehudis and Holofernes. The Assyrians laid a siege on Jerusalem and the general, Holofernes, wanted to have the daughter of the high priest come and be his bedmate. Yehudis said, “Yes, I’ll be glad to do it.” She came out and she brought along cheese and she made latkes for him and put lots of salt and pepper inside and fried them for him. He got very thirsty and she gave him some strong wine to drink. When he fell asleep he never got to make it with her—she cut his head off. She then took it out and planted it on top of the wall of Jerusalem and because of this, the Assyrians, who had come lay siege on the city, left. In commemoration of that we eat latkes. That’s the story. (Make sure that they are not fried in trans fats.)

You can look this story up.  It’s in the Megillah Antiochos, an external, apocryphal book of the Bible, not in the Bible itself.  They were cheese because – think about it!  At the time of the Hanukkah story they didn’t have potatoes—they came later from the americas. So how did they make latkes? From cheese! So in Yiddish you used to call the latkes keyzlak, like cheesies.

6 Responses to “Light on Hanukkah”

  1. Ayla Says:

    Dear Seth,
    Many thanks for sending us these great teachings from Reb Zalman. We all appreciate your committment! . Yasher koach and happy chanukah,

  2. Ya'akov Gabriel Says:

    The combination of information and folksiness of style is great for my head and my neshama. Thank you, Reb Zalman, for lighting up my life before Chanukah and beyond it.

  3. Gloria Krasno Says:

    Dear Zeide Zalman,
    The eighth candle will also commemorate my 80th Hanukah.
    What light/ what color/ what visions/
    From flashing Shabbat strobe lights
    to Hanukah’s lighted doorway to beauty
    Miracle to miracles/ seen through the flickering flames
    Changes to changings
    through your holy teachings/ blessing open doorways to yet new visions.
    (Checkers, anyone?)
    With love and gratitude

  4. P Says:

    Too many alegories on one sentence, too much non-Jewish stuff. Too much untruth. Too much spiritual darkness. I like the plain truth better. You obviously prefer the holiness of beauty to the beauty of holiness.

  5. Gabbai Seth Fishman (Blog Editor) Says:

    Dear P:
    Reb Zalman has translated Hashem Tz’vaot as the God of diversity and, baruch Hashem, we are created with diverse thoughts, opinions and colors.

    Thank you for sharing yours. I have the impression of disagreement with Reb Zalman’s idea and, if you care to, I want to invite you to elaborate on your comment with specifics.

    Have a happy and a healthy Hanukkah, and good chodesh!

  6. Betty Esthelle Says:

    Blessings Reb Zalman , my brother, it’s been too long, I will try to see you in Ashland in the Spring! My work has become even more holy to me. bringing me to feel like an instrument of connection for making a space for my clients to know who they truly are. I think this is a precious gift and I share what I can as often as possible.At 83 I am blessed with health and the gift of strength enough to continue to do this Holy work.
    All my siblings have passed on & I have been mourning my last brother for 3 years. I think of you as a gift of a brother and keep you in my heart with gratitude for having shared many valuable experiences. May you continue to be blessed in good health and happiness and know that you are so loved by so many of us.

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