The Sixth* Day of Channukkah: Friday, December 30, 2005

"It's better to light one candle than curse the darkness."

Rabbi Aaron Raskin of Bnai Avraham Synagogue  in Brooklyn Heights invited me to light the sixth "candle" of Channukkah. Who knew the candles would turn out to be  Coleman lanterns, my match would be a PROPANE BLOW TORCH,  and it would take a Con Edison "Cherry Picker" to lift us 40' in the air to light them, with me and him strapped in to the bucket like we were in the pilot's seat of a stealth bomber.(Thank you professionals from Con Edison.) "Baruch atah adonoy elohanu melach haolam..."

Here we "arising to the occasion". Here we are lighting the middle candle the "Shamash"

Dr. Ted trying to stop the wind from blowing his yarmulka away; Rabbi Aaron holding the propane gas torch. "Baruch atah adonoy elohanu melach haolam..." Here you can appreciate the size of the "Menorah", the second largest one in United States I think he said.

Tuesday. December 27, 2006 Rabbi Aaron with Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz and Ömer Önhon the Turkish Consul General with his wife and child visiting this country to promote good will (and me Dr. Ted, just behind Marty). Marty came to preside over the world's first Latkes eating contest. Marty, in my opinion, is largely responsible for making Brooklyn the great STATE that it is today. Brooklyn is proud and honored to have him as one of our greatest leaders. Chapeau Marty! ("hats off" en français). 


Marty graces the opening of the new Ben and Jerry ice cream shoppe on Atlantic Ave. in August 2005: Me, Sven Lapiner owner of the story and Jerry in blue. Take this pic in and Sven will give you a free scoop of ice cream compliments of Dr. Ted.



Refereeing the latkes eating contest is Simcha Weinstein, the Brooklyn Borough  President is announcing the winner of the contest which will become an entry in the Guinness World Book of Records. That trophy is three feet tall. There's me eating a stray latke after the dust had settled. Such joy in the winner's face who ate 57 latkes in three minutes. What a fresser.  He definitely did it with style and grace. I know I stood right next to him as he stuffed them down.The Borough President thought this event was so important he issued a PRESS RELEASE. [READ THE PRESS RELEASE.]


*  So what is special about "6"?  I asked Rabbi Aaron this question and he handed me an autographed copy of his book "letters of light" ISBN 1-8814-0074-3, published by Rabbi Aaron Raskin, 2005 (718 596 0069) and Sichos in English, 718 778 5436 (

" The letters of the Hebrew alphabet are the metaphorical wood, stones and nails, cornerposts and crossbeams of our earthly and spiritual existence.  In his book Rabbi Aaron explores the essence of the holy letters, illustrating how they continue to be a source of creation, reflection, prayer and inspiration in our everyday lives."

"The sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is vav. It means hook. It also signifies "Completion" because when something is surrounded on all six sides i.e. North, South, East, West, Above and Below it is complete. Moreover, the world was created in six days--the Six days of creation. The first word in the Torah (the 5 books of Moses) is Bereishis ("in the beginning") which itself is composed of six letters,... Furthermore, the Torah clearly states: G-d created six days". There are also six alephs in the first verse of the Torah. The first "vav" in the Torah is found in the beginning of the sixth word (v'es). So "Creation" is connected to the number six."