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Hanukkah Lights

Philip M. Raskin 1880 ( Shklov, Russia) – 1944 ( New York)

I kindled my eight little candles,
My Hanukkah candles, and lo!
Fair visions and dreams half-forgotten
Were rising of years long ago.

I musingly gazed at my candles;
Meseemed in their quivering flames
In golden, in fiery letters
I read the old, glorious names;

The names of our heroes immortal,
The noble, the brave, and the true;
A battlefield saw I in vision,
Where many were conquered by few;

And mute lay the Syrian army,
Judea’s proud foe, in the field;
And Judas, the brave Maccabaeus,
I saw in his helmet and shield.

His eyes shone like bright stars of heaven,
Like music resounded his voice:
“Brave comrades, we fought and we conquered,
Now let us in God’s name rejoice!

“We conquered; but know, my brave comrades,
No triumph is due to the sword;
Remember our motto and watchword,
‘For the people and towns of the Lord.’”

He spoke, and from all the four corners
An echo repeated each word;
The woods and the mountains re-echoed:
“For the people and towns of the Lord.”

And swiftly the message spread, calling:
“Judea, Judea is free!
Rekindled the lamp in the Temple,
Rekindled each bosom with glee!”

* * * * * * * * *

My Hanukkah candles soon flickered,
Around me was darkness of night;
But deep in my soul I felt shining
A heavenly, wonderful light.
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Submitted by naama on July 13, 2020

1:09 min read

Philip M. Raskin

Raskin was born on December 24, 1880, in Shklov, Russia.[1] After emigrating to England, he worked at the Leeds Health Department. In 1914, he published his first poetry collection, Songs of a Jew, and the following year, he immigrated to the United States. He continued to publish his own poetry, in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish, as well as an anthology of modern Jewish poetry. He died on February 6, 1944, in New York more…

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