Once I compared daily prayer
to a chat window open with God
all the time. That was before.
Now the chat windows where I text,
the Zoom windows where we meet,
are as fervent as prayer:
the only way we can be together
anymore. The digital windows open
between my home (my heart) and yours --
they're what link us, together apart
like lovers with hands pressed
to far sides of thick glass.
Chanukah candles go in the window
to shine light into the world
to proclaim the miracle even
in dark times. We've all seen
the old photo, chanukiyah burning
small and defiant in the foreground
and on a building across the street
the swastika's hideous slash. I put
my lights each night in my window:
tiny candles visible to anyone
driving through the condo complex.
It's not brave like the rabbi in Kiel
in 1932, though more people hate us
today than I used to imagine. Still
these little lights declare
that hatred will not destroy us.
Let's be real: no one walks past
my window in the smalltown night
so I post a photo too on Facebook
scattering holy sparks
through every browser window
proclaiming the miracle
that we're still here, that
the light of our fierce hope still shines.
[Originally published in Great Miracles Happen Here: Liturgy, Poetry, and Art for Chanukah, published by Bayit: Building Jewish. Click through to read excerpts and download the whole collection.]