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So This is Hanukkah

Yesterday afternoon I flew home to Chicago from Nashville for a few weeks of R&R at home before the semester starts rolling again in January. My first order of business was a Hanukkah party at my friend Avi’s apartment. Aside from being impressed that he was able to make latkes without causing any discernable smoke damage to his apartment, I was overjoyed to find that the party was composed of many of my all time favorite people. Conversation was fast-paced, wine-fuelled, and punctuated with donut holes. Aside from the inexorable discussion of sex, we spent a good deal of time swapping embarrassing mother stories, and for at least an hour there was an informal ‘Who’s had the worst experience with airport security?’ contest. At some point we arrived at the newest addition to prerequisite party fodder: awkward discussion of marriage and weddings.

Since high school graduation my friends have slowly been pairing up, and by now even those of us who have remained steadfastly single have been members of the wedding party at least once. There are plenty of stories about fuchsia bridesmaid dresses and wedding shtick gone awry. Engagements called off at the last minute, weddings that didn’t last through the sheva brachot… Everyone has a horror story to contribute, and that makes it a perfect party conversation. Even the already-married among us are aware of the dangers of permanent relationships, and joke about the stresses they bring on.

It got me thinking about being single, and how sometimes it’s really quite nice. There’s something fun about knowing that somewhere in your future there’s someone you won’t be able to live without. And every time I end breaking up with a boyfriend, and I spend a few days in that dizzying misery, it’s so nice, when it’s all over, to see that I can really get on with things, that my heart hasn’t stopped.

On Hanukkah we focus on the big miracle of enough oil for one day lasting for eight. But what happened then? The menorah went out. The Maccabees had to go back to work, had to put the Temple back together. It’s nice to think that there are miracles, but that real survival is about moving on.

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