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photo by Manny Barkal-Sarbit

Don’t Make “LIGHT “ of your Marriage this Hanukah Season

by Harriet Berkal December 14, 2016

Truth be told, we all take many things for granted in life. It’s often when they are removed, missing, or become routine, that we stop and realize just how precious they are to us.


Hanukah reminds us of the desecration and rededication of the temple where the MIRACLE occurred. It happened when the Macabees found enough oil in the vessel, which technically should only have lasted for one night, but instead lasted eight days. A wonder to behold!


Let’s parallel this phenomena to the risk of entering a marriage, where you have no idea how long it will last, the couple takes a leap of faith, a chance and enters a union a joining of souls to share a lifetime.  Isn’t this similar to the risk that was taken when they lit the menorah, which burned for eight days, with only enough fuel to truly have it last but one day. It sustained itself.


The miracle of the marriage is the coupling of two people in love, embracing a new life to embark on together and work at it by adding new memories, successes, struggles or other experiences each day, as it builds into a true partnership. Who is the “Shamash” in the relationship? I’d hope there would be two; taking turns with the responsibilities that lie ahead. It’s sharing those burdens and triumphs that solidify the couple.


There are many miracles within a marriage. The wonder of creating new life, the joy of building a family and caring for our elder loved ones and the respect we deserve to have for each other. There should be great illumination from being with each other throughout the years- two people a unit so to speak, up against the elements of life. And sometimes those challenges are great and unimaginable, but together, you face them head on.


One of the other miracles of Hanukah reminds us of “the victory of a few against the many.” The Macabees were few in number positioned against their enemy who were greater in number.


Margaret Mead has been paraphrased as saying; “Never doubt that a small number of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”    


These days it appears that staying committed is a rarity in comparison to the everlasting love our parents knew with many marriages celebrating some 70 years.  It takes work and there has to be an understanding from the outset that no one will ever break up this union – it is sacred.  Some may try, but the strength of the love has to be anchored strongly to survive.


So on this Hanukah, may we challenge you to view LIGHT in the following ways.


L – Lies in a relationship are destructive. A lack of trust never serves as a good foundation to last the distance. The truth usually comes out one-way or another.

I- Ignite new passion and attentiveness into the union, to keep it from burning out. Never take your partner for granted.

G-Gentleness is a good quality to find in one another, but knowing that your partner always has your back, supersedes it!

H-Health, happiness, humor and a good heart are key ingredients to a successful union.

T- Tolerance of each other’s idiosyncrasies, fears, and pains should never be discounted no matter how long ago they happened and support is everything.  



“The reason for the Hanukah lights is not for the “lighting if the house within”, but rather a reminder for the “illumination” of the house without.” so that passersby should see it and be reminded of the miracle of the holiday.


Show your love for your partner each day, as we never know what tomorrow brings.






Footnote from Larry Sarbit: Harriet reminds me in her thoughtfulness everyday how important it is to communicate in a relationship. Love and support for your partner overrides everything! We hope to renew our vows next summer to commemorate the love we share and value above all.


Article dedicated to all those marriage counselors out there whom others entrust to help marriages survive and endure. As well to my beloved parents and to my husband’s, who served as wonderful role models and proved that love is strong and powerful and can truly last forever. Bless them!




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