By MAJ Gabriel Koshinsky, USA
My Dear Ariella,
mi Pequeña Reina de Los Macabeos (My Little Queen of the Maccabees), I write from far away to wish you a very Happy Birthday/Feliz cumpleaños and Happy Chanukah/Feliz Janucá ! Sadly, I cannot be there for all the joy and festivities. Though, I stare at a bright moon like so many soldiers this time of year. I suspect our thoughts center to the homes we all miss, the children we wish to hold, and the family we cannot kiss.
Right now, as your mother reads, I am thinking of that beautiful day that you were born. You were born on the 25th of Kislev, 5779 (December 3, 2018). On that first day of Chanukah, your mother and I received our miracle of light when you were born. The famous writer Elie Wiesel wrote, “In Jewish history, there are no coincidences.” You see, most fathers think their child will be destined for greatness. I did not have to think, because I knew. As I still know. You were given the gift of a brilliant, loving, and beautiful mother. In this world, you will see that a small light is fragile but remarkable in and of itself. You are remarkable.
You were born with a magnetism that brings joy and laughter to all you meet. You were born with a lioness spirit of stubborn determination. Your name Ariella fits accordingly. Your mother calls your magnetism the “Koshinsky charm” or the “Koshinsky magic”. We do not carry the Madrigal magic, but we do have something that bonds us together even when we are thousands of miles apart.
The magnetism reflects that inner light the brave Maccabees sought to bring to a dark world thousands of years ago. A light deeply rooted within our family’s heritage, and the history of our people. Under the hand of an oppressive empire, the great Maccabees showed that right makes might, not the other way around. They showed a stubborn commitment to faith could overcome the seemingly impossible. No one can know how long the oil of life lasts, but we each play our part in the story that continues.
As I think of the miracle of the oil lasting eight days, this holiday reminds me of why I cannot be there in person to celebrate your Birthday with you. In time you will also understand, and I hope this letter might stand as a reminder. Not just a reminder for you, but for every other little child who is missing their soldier (daddy or mommy), on this Chanukah.
It’s important to always remember we have our part to play. Duty encapsulates the virtue of Chanukah. Duty is easy to spell, but a challenge to live up to. It requires sacrificing time with you today to preserve our time together next year. It requires a tearful hug good-bye today, in hopes of a cheerful hug hello soon. Like the brave Maccabees, your greatness shines through with the great duty you show in helping your Mommy while I am away. I am enormously proud of you, I love you, and I miss you very much.
This article was originally published in the Chanukah 2022 issue of the Jewish-American Warrior.