Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I want to go everywhere I haven't been, and back to everywhere I have been.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A New Menorah and 2000 Year-Old Pottery

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Have you ever had a totally awesome experience?

I'm talking about when something is "awesome" in the truest sense of the word.

No, not like when I say, "We're having burgers for dinner," and Junior Goo Shoes says, "Awesome!"

I mean as in amazing, moving, heart-stirring, wonderful, spiritual, powerful.

This particular "moment of awe" happened last December at the end of our two-week trip to Israel. Actually, it was one of many incredible "moments" on that trip, but this one is very relevant to Chanukah, which starts tonight.

So grab a jelly doughnut and some latkes, and let me tell you the story of how our new menorah is tied to the actual miracle of Chanukah, which happened 2000 years ago. 

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The one souvenir that we really wanted to bring home from Israel was a menorah... the traditional candelabra used to light candles on each of the eight nights of Chanukah. 

We wanted it to be really that would always remind of us this trip of a lifetime. 

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

When we finally found it, we had no idea that this menorah would turn out to be even more significant than we could have ever imagined.

A  Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

For awhile, we thought we were going to come home empty-handed. 

Our trip was winding down, and we hadn't yet found a menorah that "spoke" to us. But because some things are meant to be, we had to be patient.

The day before we were leaving Israel, we were shopping in an area called The Cardo.
It was Jerusalem's main street 1500 years ago. Click here for a panoramic view.

A New Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
The Cardo, Jerusalem


Did you catch that Art and Judaica shop in the first few seconds? 

This one...Chaya.

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery @ The Cardo Jerusalem  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

There it was! Our menorah was right there in the window!

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It was designed by an Israeli artist named Anat Mayer.  Supposedly, when the Israeli Prime Minister needs to give a gift to a foreign dignitary, he gives one of Mayer's pieces. That's what the store clerk told us, anyway. 

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Not only was it beautiful, the brass overlay depicted scenes and symbols from all around Israel...which told the story of our trip. 

We were sold. Or rather, it us!

I won't bore you with what all of the symbols represent, but, for example, this grid represents the Western Wall... 

...which is this:

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Most of the symbols on the menorah were meaningful to us, reminding us of all the things that we saw on our trip.

It couldn't have been more perfect.

When the store offered to have it delivered to our hotel, we said yes, because that sucker was heavy, and why shlepp it if we didn't have to? 

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Later that night, back at the hotel...

No Menorah.

Concierge doesn't have it. Front desk doesn't have it. Lost and Found doesn't have it.

And we're leaving the next night. 

Long story short, Mr. Goo Shoes spends a good part of the following morning on the phone with the store, who insists they sent it...and the hotel, who insists they don't have it.  

In the meantime, we were on the bus headed to our last stop on the tour.  It was an archeological dig at the Bell Caves at a place called Beit Guvrin

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery @ Beit Guvrin --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I have to admit that I wasn't really looking forward to it, but you know how those things go...

It turned out to be an AWESOME experience. 

This was no tourist attraction, where they bury fake artifacts in the dirt. This was a real excavation.  Whatever we found, was the real deal, which meant we could not keep it. 

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery @ Beit Guvrin --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I know you think that I have veered way off the Menorah story, but I promise you, I'm circling back to it.

After we dug up some bones and pieces of pottery...

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  @ Beit Guvrin--- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

...the tour group leader explained the history of the site we were excavating.

It was connected to the story of Chanukah...

from 2000 years ago. 

Stick with me here.

How did they know this?  It was at this site that a large tablet was found.  Think of Moses and the 10 Commandments...that kind of tablet. It's one thing to find artifacts, but it's another to find something with writing  on it, that gives actual information about the excavation site. 

This tablet said something that connected it to the period in time when the Jewish temple was destroyed by a mean man named Antiochus.  One of the things his soldiers did was spill almost all of the precious oil that kept the temple's menorah lit throughout the night.

When the Jews came back to clean up the temple, there was only enough oil left to burn for one night, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days.  That miracle is the reason we celebrate Chanukah today, and light our menorahs for eight nights. 

Our mouths were hanging open.  You can imagine the feeling of learning about Chanukah your entire life, and then standing on the site connected to where it all happened...2000 years ago.

Our tour guide pointed to a pile of scrap pottery, that they had tried to piece together, but couldn't. We could take as much of that as we wanted. 

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

He suggested that we take some pieces, and place them next to our menorahs when we light them, to connect present-day Chanukah with the past.

I can't adequately describe the feeling, but it was amazing, moving, heart-stirring, wonderful, spiritual, powerful. 

I was all verklempt (choked up).

And then I remembered that our beautiful, new menorah...the special one we had finally found... had gone missing. How incredible it would have been to light the menorah we got in Israel, next to this 2000 year-old pottery.


I took my pieces of pottery, and put them into my bag...

...took this awesome experience, and tucked it into my heart...

...and got on the bus to head back to the hotel, before we left for the airport.

When we got back to the hotel room, the Menorah was there waiting for us! Turns out, it had been at the hotel the entire time, but somehow had gotten misplaced.

I think I cried. Yup, I did.

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

So, tonight will be the first night that we light our new menorah, with our 2000-year-old pottery along side it.

We'll recall the miracle of how the oil burned for eight nights, when there was only enough for one night...

...and we'll remember our own little Chanukah miracle story, about the menorah that was meant to be...ours.
Wishing those of you who celebrate a Happy Chanukah! 

And wishing EVERYONE a Happy (and safe) Thanksgiving!

A Menorah and 2000 Year-old Pottery  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


Linking With:
Brag About It Tuesday


  1. What a wonderful story!
    Happy Chanukah and happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,

  2. What a beautiful story Amy! This Menorah and your ancient pottery pieces will, no doubt, always be a special part of your Chanukah celebrations - probably for generations to come. We too visited Israel just two months before you and had some "awesome - goose bump" experiences there. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours - may God bless you!

    1. It really is so special, Rosella! I'm glad to hear that you had the good fortune to visit Israel, too. It is a "goose bump" kind of place, isn't it?

  3. Truly an "awesome" story. Happy Thanksgivukkah!

  4. What a wonderful story! And what special memories! Your archeological dig sounds like it was truly amazing. Happy Hanukkah!

  5. That my friend is the coolest! What a great story that will hold cherished memories for a lifetime!

    1. It really will, Debbie. We thought we would come home with a souvenir, but we came back with way more than that!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Deb! It gives me goosebumps every time I think about that day!

  7. This really was an amazing account of this part of your visit to Israel, and I don't mean amazing as in good burgers! To have visited that excavation sight must have been one of those take-off-your-shoes, you're-standing-on-holy-ground moments. I know that each time you hold a piece of that ancient pottery in your hand it must take you back to the whole visit. And I am so glad you were reunited with your special menorah.

    May each day your family lights it be a blessed one.

    1. Thank you so much, Dewena. The pottery really does take me back. I've been spending time looking at our photos of that day, and trying to hold on to that feeling!

  8. I love that story and I love your Menorah. It's gorgeous. I'm getting verklempt, myself. Blessings to you.

  9. Ahhhh what an amazing gives me goosebumps! There are things in all of our lives that are not explainable, but of the heart. This is a wonderful heart story. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  10. So interesting, Amy. Thanks for sharing this story. The Menorah is beautiful and the pottery priceless. Joan-MyCookieClinic


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