Hanukkah-tastrophe Averted at Beacon Hill

1196885328Last night, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray assures us, dradels were spinning across the Commonwealth. On Beacon Hill, children’s choirs and a brass band, candies and baked goods rang in the beginning of Hanukkah. But, as the state’s elected officials gathered to light the State House menorah, gravity clashed with the ravages of holiday pies, and the holiday almost didn’t happen.

After several rounds of speeches that alternately linked the miracle in the Temple to Massachusetts’ longstanding commitment to liberty (“Freedom,” Murray argued, was “shining as brightly as the lights on the menorah”) and to the war in Iraq, it was time to light the menorah— a massive, 15-foot high structure that towered over the elected officials standing in its shadow. In order to reach the candles on top, the officiants—Speaker Sal DiMasi, Senate President Therese Murray, Lieutenant Governor Murray, and Rabbi Rachmiel Liberman — had to climb aboard a monstrous hydraulic cherrypicker.

The rabbi hit a button, and the contraption groaned and rose a foot into the air; it then decided it could do no more, stopped several feet short of its goal, and went hurtling back towards the ground. The crowd gasped, and the electeds looked around sheepishly as the rabbi tried again to coax the lift skyward. It refused to cooperate. After a number of failed attempts to conquer gravity, the two Murrays—one of whom is significantly, uh, smaller than the other—gave up and got off the ride. (Three years ago, the machine handled a load of the rabbi, the Speaker and then-Governor Mitt Romney quite nicely; maybe that’s just because Mitt’s a jogger.)

Its load lightened, the rabbi and the Speaker rose into the air and lit the menorah. There was much singing and clapping, and more than a few whispered jokes about the LG’s waistline, creamy pies, and the like. As the two Murrays looked up into the air, a State House maintenance worker scuttled by. “They’re gonna kill me,” he muttered.

–Paul McMorrow