When “Freilichen” (“Happy”) Chanukah doesn’t easily roll off your tongue, you need to re-examine Chanukah.
A striking message of the Chanukah lights, is that darkness is just an absence of light. It doesn’t actually exist. Bring back the light, and poof!…just like that…no more darkness.
The first couple nights of Chanukah this year felt dark, the void of Mendel was all around us, even in (especially in) the flames of the Menorah. Instead of feeling light and warm, we felt dark and cold. The light of the Menorah seemed to pale in comparison to the bright light that was once Mendel’s smile.
But isn’t darkness just an absence of light?
Away with the darkness! We’re going to bring back the light!
We’re going to share the beautiful warm light of Mendel, one glowing flame at a time, and the darkness will slowly begin to disappear.

Freilichen Chanukah everyone!

Mendel’s Light: Gratitude–Modeh Ani