[Note (terms): “Chanukiah” is the Hebrew term for the menorah lit during the holiday of Hanukah.]
“D” and “Y” are no longer Torah-observant, although they are polite enough to keep many things when they are at home. I knew that when they would be here on leave, they would light a Hanukah menorah, but I wanted to encourage them to do so when in the army as well. So I made for each of then a nice chanukiah from ceramics, one of “spinning tops” design for “Y”, and a “Jerusalem” one for “D”. “D” seemed touched, and promised me that he would light his, while “Y” just basically said “Nice!”, without commenting on any use. I surely didn’t pressure them, nor ask further. (I don't have a picture of "Y"'s menorah, "D"'s -which was nicer- you can see HERE.)
Fast-forward a few weeks later to Hanukkah. I had already noted that “D”’s chanukiah resting on the computer table in the boy’s room, and thought to myself “Well, I quess “D” was trying to be polite, but I never asked him to lie….So much for his promise to light….” When “Y” arrived home for the weekend, I urged him to ready his chanukiah, so his father wouldn’t feel burdened by the need to prepare his as well as his own. After a few moments, he reappeared with D’s menorah, sheepishly stating that he couldn’t find his. Of course I wondered to myself how much could he like the carefully crafted homemade chanukiah if he had lost it already?? But of course I made no verbal comment…..
Several days later, for the last night of the holiday, “D” finally arrived home from the army. I told him to ready his “chanukiah” , as I had told his brother a few days previously. “I can’t,” he said, “I’m sorry to inform you that I broke it by accident at the base….”
“D” HAD taken “his” chanukiah” to light… just the wrong one. And “Y” couldn’t find his because “D” had taken it. Innocent of all charges……
[PS. I promised Y a new menorah, to replace the one his brother broke, and gave him a choice of design... he chose "autos"!]