Hanukkah Candles, Leonard Cohen, & Rafael Bernardo Gayol

December 20, 2011

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah.  While preparing my Menorah (lovingly made years ago by my then young grandchildren) and organizing the Hanukkah candles, my thoughts went back one year ago to the two final concerts of the Leonard Cohen World Tour in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace, Colosseum.

As happened at every concert at the end of "Anthem", Leonard Cohen introduced each band member individually. For a while, Leonard had been doing an elaborate and hilarious intro of Rafael Bernardo Gayol (eg.Oakland here)

At both concerts, on December 10 and 11, Leonard included yet another imaginative description for Rafael, one we had never heard before.

The new description added:
...he converts to Judaism
but is excommunicated for lighting the Hanukkah candles in the wrong direction.
Yes, there is a correct order.  On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, another candle is added and placed in the Menorah from right to left.  But when the candles are lit, the order is from left to right, starting with the newest candle first.

Cued to start at Leonard Cohen's introduction of Rafael Bernardo Gayol
  • Hanukkah, the "Fesival of Lights", is not mentioned in Jewish scripture. The story is related in the book of Maccabees.
  • The candle sitting highest is called the "shamus" (sexton) and is kindled first then used to light all the other candles in "the right direction"


  1. Happy Hanukkah, dear Arlene, and thank you for for your always enlightening posts.

  2. Thank you, Rike for your kind words. And may I wish you and your family a very Happy Holiday Season.