Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Fourth Candle

Tonight I lit an extra candle on my menorah. Not sure how it happened; I suppose I probably took my "melting candle" (whose wax I used to stick the others in place) and just stuck it in at the end without thinking.

Anyhow, when I realized the error, I was told (happened to be on the phone with a member of my Rabbi's family at the time) to just put it out. So, still on the phone, I reached out and gave it a little pinch.

A moment later
I was saddened
by the realization
of how very easy it was
to snuff out
a Chanuka candle.

I couldn't just let it go like that. I kept coming back to it. So I did what any long-standing pyromaniac would: Removed the candle from the menora and lit it again. Fascinating, that flame, the fourth one that should never have been lit tonight. It came with me everywhere, and I couldn't keep my eyes off it. There was a DVD playing, but that became the background as my candle was infinitely more entertaining. It couldn't drown out my Chanukah.

It came with me into my room. As we rounded the corner, I turned off the light.
Because I felt like it, that's why.
And it was pitch dark, but for my candle. The fourth one that shouldn't have been.
It didn't light up the room, but it gave my hand a nice glow.
Brought back memories of last Chanukah, and the kumzitz by candlelight. In Eretz Yisrael.
A little dark won't stop my candle from shining.

It came with me to the freezer to get something to eat. Into the freezer it went.
Because I wanted to, that's why.
That's when we learned that a freezer is no match (pun unintended) for a Chanukah candle. Slowly the frost began to run, the ice began to melt, and my candle kept on burning.
That fourth candle that wasn't supposed to have been lit at all.

It came with me back to the table, too. Idly I dipped my finger into my water glass and let a drip down onto my candle. (Just because, ok?) The fourth one, the one that...yeah. The drip missed, ran down the candle's side. (don't you mess with my candle!) Another one missed again. (Yeah, just you try.) Again. And again. The fifth drop was right on target; it made a delightful crackling noise before vanishing into vapor.
Not cold, not dark, and not water can extinguish my Chanuka candle. As long as it has not been totally cut off from its sustaining oxygen, there is still hope for the lone flame, the fourth candle that shouldn't have been lit.
The seventh drop hit target.
The flame was gone.
This time I knew what to do right away.

We ran back to the chanukiya. The one with three candles. Holding my breath, I held the fourth candle close to the shamash. It crackled and sent up sparks; the water had really penetrated its tiny wick. All at once, the black, charred wick glowed orange. I knew then that as long as there was still a brightly burning source of light, my flame would never be lost.

With that, I concluded my sadistic experiments and watched my fourth candle, that shouldn't have been lit, burn brightly and undisturbed until it disappeared into a pool of molten wax.


knaidel maidel said...

This one would look great with some illustrations. Unfortunately, my digital camera is dying and I'm waiting for the holiday pricing to burst before I replace it. Photo donations are welcome.

shy said...

Wow! Well put! What a great lifes lesson