With 5 weeks left to my son’s Bar Mitzvah, invitations were sitting at home waiting to be addressed and mailed. All my wife had to do was create the spreadsheet with all the addresses, set up the mail merge, and feed the envelopes through the printer. I had the really tough job – to buy stamps – and I was determined to do it right. I estimated 150 stamps would do. But which theme stamp would be most appropriate for a Bar Mitzvah? I went looking at the USPS website. Flags? Too standard. “Happy Birthday”? Too juvenile. “I Love You”? Too mushy. Flowers? Too feminine. Fighter planes? Maybe… But not very mitzvah-ish. Then I saw them. Chanukah stamps with a dreidle. Perfect! We’ll be mailing them on Chanukah. And they come in sheets of 20, so I needed 8 sheets of Chanukah. What could be better?
Off to the post office on Pine St. I went, and when my turn came I happily requested “8 sheets of Hanukah, please”.
The clerk frowned and said “Hanukah? We’re out of Hanukah”.
“No! it can’t be!” I exclaimed. “You must have Hanukah stamps”.
So she looked and looked through all her drawers and all her folders. In the end, all she could find was one single sheet of Hanukah stamps.
“But that won’t do”, I said. “One sheet won’t last. I need eight sheets of Hanukah.”
She called over to the next clerk who looked through his folders. He came up with another two. “Three, that’s all we have”, she said.
Suddenly emboldened, I said “Please check in the back. I know you will find 8”.
Her eyebrows raised at my attitude, she headed towards the back. As she passed each other clerk I saw her say something to them, and each time the clerk shook his head. After checking with the last clerk, she looked across the room at me and shrugged. I gave her a nod of encouragement and she disappeared into the back. (If I were one of the people standing behind me in line I would have killed me…) Several minutes later she emerged with a triumphant look on her face.
“8 sheets of Hanukah!” she proclaimed.
“Thank you so much for your perseverance”, I said. “I knew you would find 8”.
“How could you be so sure?” she asked.
“Why, it’s the miracle of Chanukah”, I said.
A Freilichen Chanukah to All.
Originally Published December 22, 2006.