Monday, December 10, 2007

Sacred Flames

The crafts instructor at the oldies' home really wasn't thinking ahead. My grandmother arrived for the family Hanukkah celebration with a menorah that she had made herself - out of wood.

F.Y.I. Hanukkah is a holiday that celebrates a miraculous sacred oil lamp, which burned for 8 days on one day's worth of oil. To commemorate the miracle, it is traditional to light one candle for each of these days in a special candelabra called a menorah. There's more to it than that, but that's all you really need to know for the purposes of this story.

So anyway, we filled the menorah up with candles, said the appropriate prayers, and set them ablaze. The menorah was set on a baking tray on a sideboard. Once the prayers were done, we all turned back to the table and focused on eating potato latkes.

Around half-an-hour later, when the candles had burned down quite a lot, I noticed that the flames were flickering quite dramatically. My father followed my gaze. "What's going on over there?" he asked. I stood to take a closer look.

The menorah was on fire!

The candles had dripped sooty wax all over the wood, the flames had followed the soot deposits, and soon enough the actual wooden candelabra itself had started burning. Good thing we had set it up on a baking sheet, or who knows where it would have ended.

So much for my grandmother's handiwork becoming a family heirloom. Turns out it was a one-use, auto-self-destructing menorah.

2 comments:

R.E.H. said...

Good thing you were there to see it though... so it didn't catch on fire completely.

jameil1922 said...

hahahaha!!!!! poor grandma! the miracle menorah! she was giving you something for the millenium.