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Happy Chanukkah David Rose

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When David wanted to add a moderately expensive but very pretty looking menorah to their wedding registry, Patrick was a bit hesitant. Maybe hesitant wasn’t the right word, more curious. In all the years he’d known David, never once had Patrick seen David observe Judaism in any way. Sure there were references here and there to him being Jewish and Jewish experiences he’d had, but nothing Patrick had seen first hand.

So when David pulled that same menorah out their first holiday season as a married couple, Patrick was surprised, to say the least.

“What are you doing with that?” Patrick asked as David set up the menorah on a glass drip plate on the center island in their kitchen.

“It’s Chanukkah, come light the candles with me.”

Patrick didn’t question David again, and instead just watched as David set up the menorah. He put a little square of tin foil around the base of the two candles he took out of the box before putting them into their places in the center and on the far right of the menorah. When Patrick asked, David said the foil was to catch any excess wax dripping so it’s an easier clean up. Clearly this was something David had done before.

As David lit the candles, he began to speak- no sing. David was reciting the prayers from memory. It wasn’t the first time Patrick had heard David speak Hebrew. They had incorporated some Jewish traditions into their wedding, including a couple prayers, but all of it was written down in transliteration so Patrick could read it too. Patrick hasn’t realized it was possible David didn’t need the papers- or maybe David could even read the Hebrew. In fact the third prayer David was currently singing, Patrick recognized from their wedding, so maybe he really did just know it by heart.

Patrick stood there mesmerized watching his husband finish the prayers, unable to hide the fond smile on his face. The fact that David could still surprise him, still make him feel giddy and fall even more in love with him, were feelings Patrick would never tire from.

“What?” David asked, turning toward Patrick, now aware his husband had been staring at him fondly.

“Nothing. I’m just surprised I guess. When you added this menorah to our registry I honestly didn’t think it was something we’d use, just something pretty to store in a cabinet or something. You’d never expressed any interested in observing the holidays before. In fact, as I recall, our first Christmas together you were adamantly against celebrations.”

“I know,” he replied. “It’s just, there were always certain traditions I loved as a kid.” David looked away. Opening up to Patrick had gotten easier and easier over the years, but it was still in no way easy for David to bare is soul. “I remember being maybe five or six and my bubbe, that’s my dad’s mom, would pull a chair up the the counter I could stand on so I could reach to help her light the candles. Then after I got chocolate gelt and a present to open and I was very happy. After she passed away, we kinda just stopped. I mean dad would always make sure there was a menorah on display at the lavish Christmas party my parents threw, but we never gathered to light the candles and say the blessings and spend time just the family. I guess I’ve always missed that. Once or twice I tried to on my own, but it’s sad celebrating all alone. And now that we are starting our own life together I guess I just wanted to bring back some of those traditions that maybe got lost with time.”

When David looked back up, there was a tear streaking down Patrick’s cheek.

“David, I’m sorry you lost touch with that part of yourself. But yes, of course we can bring that back. Maybe even start some new traditions of our own. Whatever you’d like.”

“I’d like that,” David replied, meeting Patrick halfway for a kiss.

“Perhaps we can start now. You can teach me those prayers. Maybe even explain what Chanukkah is really about because other than presents, candles, and those potato pancakes, I don’t think I really even know what the holiday is about.”

“Latkes.”

“What?”

“Those potato pancakes, they’re called latkes.”

“Oh. Latkes,” Patrick repeated getting the pronunciation slightly off.

“Mmm close. We’ll work on it.”

The next night, when David set up to light the candles, Patrick stood beside him, reading the prayers along off a paper they printed off the internet with the transliteration. It wasn’t perfect, he stumbled through some of the words, but just having Patrick beside him trying made David happier than he ever could remember being. A great miracle might have happened thousands of years ago that they were celebrating here and now, but to David, Patrick is his miracle.