yourself seated at a silvered table, set stately for some feast,
You are guest and host and caterer, called to task, to eat.
How full is your plate,
how great is your need. Is your spirit nourished as your body feeds?
The fourth night is
dedicated to the dining room and her sister space the kitchen. This is
the seat of appetite, brimming with all things delightful to the senses.
At the center of the table is a fine serving bowl of shemen, olive oil,
for shemen is the sign of the paradox of the sensual, where the sublime
and the material meet and dine together, either in harmony or in utter
disarray. Shemen, the anointing oil of Kings, the markings of Messiah,
the essential symbol of Hanukkah, is the dripping robe of Redemption itself.
It is the nourishment for the candle, that upon which the holy flame feeds.
It is the utmost of sublime, but it is also the basest of the mundane.
Meaning also "fat" (shuman), it signifies all that is
thick and physical, the ultimate image of the material world, the mass
where spirit resides.
This night is dedicated
to delicate balances
where our desires come to dine
offering pleasure in each embellishment
fuel for the fire of life
though oil anoints and nourishes
overpour and it will put out the light.