The Ninth Night of Chanukah
Chanukah is upon us. You can already see the smiles on the faces of kids and grandparents, my two gauges of the holiday. But we all know that Chanukah is more than eight nights of presents, it’s more than potato latkes and jelly donuts. It’s a time to step back and reflect on the joys of living in a free society, the beauty of religious freedom. The power of moral conviction over evil forces.
Today I learned a story I never knew. The story of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds. Sgt. Edmonds was in a German prisoner of war camp during WW2. The German officer demanded that the sergeant identify and turn over any Jewish prisoners for “special relocation”. Sgt. Edmonds said “no, we are all Jews.” He refused to identify the Jewish prisoners. With a gun to Sgt.Edmonds head and a demand to identify the Jewish soldiers 1000 prisoners followed the Master Sargents lead and stepped forward. “We are all Jews”. The Nazi officers backed down.
That is a story to retell each year. And it leads me to a suggestion. On the eight night of Chanukah after the candles have melted away lets agree that the holiday is not over. Don’t clean the menorah and put it away. But on the next day, the ninth day, let us create a new tradition. Light the Shamash, the helping candle. For eight days the Shamash helped us light the candles, 36 in all. On this night let the Shamash stand alone, proudly lit, reminding us to help someone else. By check or credit card, by donation or cash let us on this night remember those who do not enjoy the blessings we are so fortunate to hold dear.
If you need help in identifying a needy cause please feel free to call the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation for advice. To borrow a line from Peter, Paul, and Mary,” Light One More Candle”. In the spirit of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds let us stand up with one candle and take action.
My best wishes for a Chanukah filled with joy.