People keep asking me how is my Chanukkah. It is a perfectly normal question yet it leaves me nonplussed. If I were to answer honestly, I would reveal too much about myself.
Something happened inside of me in the last few months of 2001 and I haven't been the same since. What was once warm and loving and enthusiastic has turned cold. What was once soft is now hard. What was once done in joy is now done in obligation, if it is done at all. I don't want to say anymore.
Yet I will. You can believe you are prepared for things. You can believe you deserve punishment for your misdeeds. You can believe that you should shape up and not feel certain ways. Yet, in the end, you are what you are -- imperfect, callous and vindictive. The heart has reasons of its own that the mind (or conscience) can never understand. And sometimes those reasons can be petty and mean, and those nasty feelings can taint your divine service.
As I chose to stay in Egypt, I don't think I deserve Chanukkah.