|Menorah on the Left with the Leaning Candle About To Collapse|
My holiday dinner was nearly lit on fire tonight by the Hanukkah candles. The masterpiece of a meal which included a mixed green salad with cranberries, stilton, walnuts and viniagrette, lobster ravioli in a tomato cream sauce, and skillet chicken in butter sauce with spinach was on the menu. We struck the match and ignited the flame. One of the menorahs nearly came undone due to a loose screw, and torched the salad. Could have been the ultimate holiday disaster. Luckily, I made a quick save.
Although raised Roman Catholic, I love the Menorah. Acting as a glamorous candelabra and a significant centerpiece for any dining table, I feel every Gentile or Jew needs one, or at least some type of multi-candle device. I must confess that I had never owned one of these before 1998 when I started dating my husband.
This year I have vowed to light both of our Menorahs each night of Hanukkah. Other years, we got lazy and slacked off. But we have made the committment, which even means taking at least one of them long distance to Pennsylvania next week. This lighting ceremony also gives us just one more reason to drink wine. I won’t argue with that.
I’ve never quite understood the structural integrity of the menorah. First of all, the thought of burning nine candles in such close proximity frightens me. Second of all, the candles are typically super skinny which in turn causes less stability. This is all the more reason, to use waxed paper or tin foil when lighting them, and to keep distance from any living things, or designer fabrics. This is not possible in a 6X8 dining room in a New York apartment. Just one deep breath, and something’s gotta burn. This is years of Catholic girl paranoia setting in.
Thinking of all of the Jewish families celebrating over the next nine days on the Upper West Side, I get apprehensive. This may call for a redesign. Occasionally I see large menorahs that take standard-size taper candles. This alternative style could be the answer since it is naturally more stable than the others, which have skinny candles that wobble until causing a catastrophe.
If we had this close of a call on the first night, what will happen by the ninth night? It will be glowing, stunning, and magnificent, illuminating our New York slice of heaven. Better have the fire extinguisher ready.