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A story of light and miracles for children of all ages

by Jackie Olenick – 2003

In memory of those who came before and in honor of my 9 grandchildren,

Shlomo, Joseph, Avygayil, Ezra, Elijah, Yaakov, Yeheskel, Simcha and Tova

      The Holy One noticed one dark and cold December day there wasn’t enough light shining in Her Universe. She saw that her Universe needed some help illuminating the flame that ignites the world with love. 

     In a small town, in a poor village, in a modest home, a man and a woman longed for a child.  “We need more light in our home and in our village.” They endured in their darkness for a very long time.  Some time later the Holy One noticed a little town, in a little village, in a modest home, where a man and a woman longed for the light of children.

      Time again passed as it always does, filled with surprises that we only dream of, and one day the woman began to smile with such radiance that her modest home and the poor village and the little town began to light up.

      The Holy One noticed this spark of light coming from the modest home in the poor village in the little town.  She smiled because She knew something special was happening.  She knew that one of Her sparks that contained a piece of Herself was brightening that home.  She knew the spark was special and nothing like it ever existed before in Her Universe and nothing exactly like it will ever exist again.

     Once again the darkness and the coldness of the middle of winter fell upon the village and the modest home.  But the light coming from the village grew brighter and brighter.  At last a child was born to the man and the woman.  He was born on the first night of Hanukah – the night one candle is lit in the darkness of winter. That tiny little light warmed up the hearts and brightened the smiles of the man and the woman and everyone else who lived in the little village in the little town.  The child was named Shlomo. Everyone who came to know him knew that no one like Shlomo ever existed before and no one like Shlomo would ever exist again.  He was one of a kind – just like the single flame on the first night of Hanukah.  Shlomo was wise and kind and generous.  People soon came to know that a wise child lived in the modest house in the little village.

      And the Holy One smiled upon Her spark and blessed Shlomo to be who he was meant to be.


     Once again darkness came in the middle of the coldest time of winter.  The man and the woman were smiling with a special radiance.  It was the 2nd night of Hanukah and another child was sent to the home to bring light and his own special quality to the family.  Joseph, the 2nd child was born at the time of the 2nd flame.  No one like Joseph ever lived before or will ever live again.  Joseph was a dreamer.  Joseph dreamed things while he slept like no one else ever dreamed.  Joseph dreamed about heaven and earth and the skies and the oceans.  He dreamed about his family and about his friends.  He dreamed in color and he heard music in his dreams.  He told his dreams to wise brother Shlomo.  Shlomo told Joseph what his dreams meant and Joseph was happy.

      And the Holy One smiled upon these two brothers who brought so much light into Her world.  She blessed Joseph to be who he was meant to be.


     Time passed as it always does and again darkness came in the middle of the coldest time of winter.  The man and woman thought that they could not possibly be happier.  The Holy One sent them yet another one of her sparks on the 3rd night of Hanukah to open their hearts even more.  This time a beautiful baby girl, Avygayil came to them. She came to them with rosy cheeks, with curls of blonde hair, laughing and singing.  Avygayil brought music and laughter to this home.  Avygayil was always singing.  Melodies came to her from places she didn’t know. Songs floated through the air in the modest house in the little village.  Soon her brothers, who were quite serious, began to dance as their sister sang.  And they always laughed so hard at Avygayil’s jokes that they sometimes had bellyaches.  Shlomo taught her wisdom. Joseph taught her about dreams. Avygayil was a happy little girl.

      The Holy One smiled upon these three children who brought so much Light into Her world.  She blessed Avygayil to be who she was meant to be.


      As the family grew, the man and the woman learned from their children, just as the children learned from their parents.  The man and the woman learned to have patience and wisdom from their children.  And the children learned how a man and a woman could love each other and shine in each other’s light.  Another cold and dark winter descended upon the little town in the poor village in the modest home.  Another boy child was sent to this family on the 4th night of Chanukah.  Ezra came to the family and brought still more light and delight.  Ezra, everyone soon found out, loved to build things.  He could build the highest walls and towers with scraps of wood that his brothers and sister found for him.  Ezra could also add vast sums of numbers in his head.  Ezra helped Shlomo, Joseph, and Avygayel with their arithmetic.  Shlomo taught Ezra how to be wise.  Joseph taught Ezra how to dream about his towers and walls. And sister Avygayil delighted them all with her beautiful melodies.  Now that there were so many children, sometimes they would argue.  Shlomo was wise enough to guide his brothers and sister through their disputes.

      And the Holy One smiled upon these 4 children who brought so much Light into Her world.  She blessed Ezra to be who he was meant to be. 


      The modest house in the poor village in the little town had become crowded.  The man and the woman decided one day to build an extra room.  Joseph helped them dream how the room would look.  Avygayal sang as the room was being built. And, of course, Ezra built the walls, stone by stone to make the room strong and sound.  Shlomo, during all the tumult, kept everyone calm with words of wisdom.  The room became a kitchen large enough for the whole family.  It became the place where people nourished their bodies, told their secrets, shared their dreams, sang their music and danced their dance.  It became a holy space.  It was the room where candles were lit and where everyone came together to celebrate.

      The Holy One smiled upon this family and blessed them to always know to have a space where holiness dwells.

      Time passed as it always does.  It was the middle of December, the darkest and coldest time.  Another boy child came to the family.  His name was Elijah.  Elijah was born on the 5th night of Chanukah.  Elijah came to the family so full of light that everyone who saw him knew right away that Elijah could see into the future.  Elijah lit the way with his presence so that the family could see more clearly, minute by minute, day by day, the light of the Holy One.  Elijah brought clarity and light and brilliance into this home.  Elijah had so much light that he lit up all those around him.  Small disputes disappeared in the light of Elijah’s presence. Shlomo understood his wisdom needed more light.  Joseph discovered that the light from Elijah brightened his dreams.  Avygail’s melodies became more beautiful. The light of Elijah showed Ezra how to make towers and buildings more wonderful.  The man and the woman’s love for each other expanded more and more, and they encircled their family with love and compassion and wisdom.  The holy family danced with happiness in the stone room by the place where the candles were lit.

      The Holy One smiled upon this fifth child, Elijah and blessed him to be who he was meant to be.


     One year after Elijah came to bless the holy family during the darkest time in the cold winter season, at the time the 6th flame was being kindled, Yakov came to the holy family.  It was soon understood that Yakov loved to study words that came to him from texts that were brought down through the generations.  Yakov understood that he was connected to his parents and they to their parents all the way back to Sarah and Abraham.  Yakov became a great student and reminded his brothers and sister to always be connected to the place which connected their soul to their hearts.  The man and the woman and Shlomo and Joseph and Avygayal and Ezra and Elijah all learned to study from the great texts.  Everyone in the poor town in the little village and in the modest home understood that Yakov was a great scholar.  As he grew, people from villages far and wise came to the modest house to learn from Yakov.

      And the Holy One smiled and blessed Yakov to be who he was meant to be.


      Now the man and the woman were growing older and the children were growing up.  They knew that their holy family glowed with such brightness within the walls of their home and in their village and in their town that there wasn’t room for any more children.  But time passes as it always does and brings surprises that cannot be imagined.  In the middle of the darkest and coldest time of winter when the 7th flame is illuminated a girl child, Zahava, was born.  Her heart was as good as gold and as bright as seven candles. Zahava was generous with her love and shared the goodness of her heart with everyone around her.  Zahava knew how to be generous with her help and her love and her caring.  People flocked to this tiny, golden girl because they knew from her they would learn generosity.  Shlomo was almost grown up and learned from Zahava not to become a wise guy.  Joseph learned to interpret his own dreams. Avygayal shared her gift of song with others in her community and Ezra learned to share his gift with others – to make houses for people who were poor.  Elijah took great joy and became even brighter when in Zahava’s presence and little Yakov learned to share his knowledge freely with a great open heart.

      The Holy One smiled upon these seven children who were all different, each in his or her own way.  She blessed the newest child Zahava to be who she was meant to be.


      The man and the woman, now wizened with old age, felt great joy, laughed hard, and enjoyed good health. They felt blessed and loved by the Holy One.  They were grateful for all their treasures and the life they built which unfolded every minute, day by day. They looked forward to the time when their children would find the love of their life and begin building their own families.  They slept soundly at night because they knew they had taught their children well. They grew as a holy family attached to the Holy One, Blessed be She.

      Again time passed as it always does and it was the darkest time in the middle of the coldest winter and the 8th candle was being lit.  In the little town, in the poor village in the modest house in the room with the strong, stone walls at the place where candles were lit, the man and the women and all the children lit the 8th candle for all the children who ever were, and all the children who are present, and all the children who would come in the future as a unique spark of the Holy One.

      The Holy One saw this and smiled.


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