Festivals of Light

Festivals of Light

It was mid-November when I decided it was time to start working on my next post for the blog. I laughed aloud when I checked the calendar. My scheduled date was December 25th. I found that rather provocative, to say the least, since I’m a “nice Jewish girl”— the one that writes her own particular version of JAFF—Jewish Austen Fan Fiction.

For a minute, I considered writing about Chanukah, but quickly had second thoughts. The truth of the matter was the vast majority of the world would be celebrating a different holy day; and whether readers preferred classic Dickens or Hallmark style, I doubted that many would care to read a post so wholly unrelated to Christmas!  I mulled it over for a few days, until I recalled the final chapters of my book, The Meyersons of Meryton; and thankfully, a compromise came to mind.

Let me set the stage: At this point of the story—due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances—Mrs. Meyerson, the rabbi’s wife, and Mrs. Bennet find themselves much in one another’s company. Miss Catherine Bennet has endeared herself to the good lady as well as her young daughter, Rachel. In a rather poignant moment, Kitty makes an emotive declaration and Mrs. Meyerson is most profoundly moved.

“My dear, you have stirred my soul! While I have striven for emunah, I have lacked bitachon,” she whispered. “Kitty, you have reminded me of an important lesson. Faith and trust are two different things.”

Naturally, Mrs. Meyersons goes on to explain; and by relaying the story of Chanukah to her Anglican friends, she emphasizes these foreign words and their significance throughout the joyous celebration. Mrs. Bennet was all astonishment. Though Chanukah was commemorated during the wintry months, she declared it had little in common with her own holiday. The next phrase, uttered by the rabbi’s wife, is what I’d like to focus on today.

“Not at all, Mrs. Bennet, for each has its merits and, closely scrutinized, each holiday speaks of bringing Light into a dark world. Kitty has reminded me: We must keep our faith in front of us and we shall reap the rewards.”

 

We each of us have dealt with unprecedented trials and tribulations; and this holiday season, has been… challenging. Personally speaking, I have found some comfort and relief from the daily barrage of “breaking news,” by remembering to keep the faith and to squarely place my trust were it belongs. Festivals of Light, Chanukah and Christmas are both celebrated during the darkest months (at least in the Northern hemisphere). Whether we light a chanukiah or a Christmas tree, we do our part to bring Light into the world.

I leave you with an excerpt and a prayer for Peace. Paz. Paix. Shalom.

 

When the happy couples at length were seen off and the last of the party had departed Longbourn, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were found in the dining room quite alone, sharing the last bit of port between them.

“What shall we do now, Mrs. Bennet, with three daughters married?”

Surprised at being asked her opinion, Mrs. Bennet gave the question some thought before replying. “I suppose we have earned a respite, husband. Let us see what Life has in store for us.”

“No rest for the weary, my dear, for soon Mary will leave us and then Kitty. We shall have to make arrangements for the inevitable. Perhaps you can live with one of the girls when I am gone and Mr. Collins inherits the place.”

“Mr. Bennet,” she giggled, “you should have more bitachon.”

“I beg your pardon?”

Perhaps it was the port, or perhaps it was pure exhaustion, but Mrs. Bennet found she had no scruple in sharing the entire tale of Chanukah with her most astonished husband. “Pray Mr. Bennet,” she concluded, “what was the true miracle of this holiday?”

“The logical answer,” he replied dryly, “would point to the miracle of such a small group of men overcoming a fierce and mighty army.”

“No, that is not it.” She giggled, as a hiccup escaped her lips.

“Well then,” he sighed, “the esoteric answer would point to the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights.”

“No, Mr. Bennet. Again, you are incorrect.”

“Pray tell me, wife, what then was the miracle, for I can see that you may burst with anticipation for the sharing of it!”

“The miracle, sir, was they possessed bitachon. I do hope I am pronouncing correctly. At any rate, it means trust. They knew they only had one vial of sacred oil and had no means to create more. They lit the candle and left the rest up to the Almighty. And that is exactly what we should do.”

“My dear, it is a lovely tale and I am certain that it has inspired many generations before us and will inspire many generations after we are long gone, but it does not change the fact that Mr. Collins is to inherit Longbourn…”

“Longbourn is entailed to Mr. Collins if we do not produce a son.”

“Yes, and well you know that we have produced five daughters, although you are as handsome as any of them, Mrs. Bennet. A stranger might believe I am the father of six!” he said with sincere admiration.

“You flatter me, Mr. Bennet. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I wish to say…”

“You were but a child when we wed,” he waved her silent, “not much more than Lydia’s age, if I recall. But, my dear, that is neither here or there, for in all this time a son has not been produced and there’s nary a thing to do for it!”

“Mr. Bennet, there is something I have been meaning to tell you,” she said, suddenly quite subdued. “If you could only spare a moment of your time, or does your library call you away?”

His wife’s anxious smile made him feel quite the blackguard. Had he not made a promise in Brighton? Did he not vow he would change his ways? Mr. Bennet decided it was high time he put the good rabbi’s advice into practice. Bowing low, he replied, “Madam, I am your humble servant.”

 Happier words had never been spoken.

 

 

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14 COMMENTS
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darcybennett
January 6, 2021 7:42 PM

Thank you for sharing this excerpt.

Vanessa Mcbride
Vanessa Mcbride
December 28, 2020 10:00 AM

Love reading the excerpt. Can wait to read more. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Xena Anne
Xena Anne
December 27, 2020 12:45 AM

What a lovely passage, from one of my favorite JAFF books. Have you written more JAFF?

carylkane
carylkane
December 26, 2020 12:46 PM

Mirta, Thank you for the lovely excerpt!

buturot
December 25, 2020 9:56 PM

Thank you for this exceprt. Happy holidays to all!

Praying for enlightenment, peace and health to all.

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
December 25, 2020 12:25 PM

Happy Chanukah and all the traditions of the season. Blessings, Mirta. I loved your Jewish JAFF. I hope you don’t mind if I copy something from my review [5-stars by the way]. I feel it is relevant to the various holidays. We can all come together in spite of our differences… whether it’s religion, color, ethnicity, etc. Here is what I said:

I recommend this story for something completely different that’s very informative and insightful. It causes the reader to look within themselves at their own philosophies before judging the philosophies of others. I Loved it.

“The point is, being a Christian does not mean hating or belittling the non-Christians. Being a Muslim does not mean hating or belittling the non-Muslims. Being an Atheist does not mean hating or belittling the religious people. In a civilized society, diversity in religious orientation should be the reason for celebration, not the cause for hatred and differentiation.”
? Abhijit Naskar

Blessings, everyone. Stay safe, healthy and I wish everyone a very Happy New Year… Peace.

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
December 25, 2020 10:28 AM

Merry Christmas!! Great excerpt!

Patricia Noda
Patricia Noda
December 25, 2020 8:15 AM

Merry Christmas to everyone! I can relate as I was raised in a mixed religion family – Baptist and Buddhist.
Please stay safe and practice social distancing. ?

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