Donuts. They are a circle of goodness. A circle of surprise. A circle of adventure. They contain the basics to keep us all alive. Flour, sugar, eggs, and other nutritionally necessary ingredients to keep the body fit and the mind sharp. (I actually have no idea what ingredients are in a donut because once the recipe says “heat oil in a pan,” visions of third degree burns enter my head and I turn to the next page.) Regardless of my revelation, I truly believe that. Donuts are a symbol of life. Because if the Lion King talks about the “Circle of Life,” he is really referring to the donut. Because a donut is a circle that is a lot less depressing to think about. Unless, of course, you have eaten too many of them and you don’t fit into any of your clothing. Then they can be depressing.

When you think about it, a donut is a lot like life. On the outside, a jelly donut can look perfect. Well proportioned. A lovely powdered sugar coating that feels just right when you pick it up. Like, for example, a house. On the outside it looks perfect. The price is right. And you get all excited about taking the first bite of the donut like you would walking into a new house.

But then you take the first bite and the dough is crumbly and stale. Even though the guy at the store said they were made “just this morning!” Nope, they were not. And the jelly is everywhere and not in a good way, everywhere on your clothes, on your hands, on your face — everywhere but perfectly placed inside the donut that appeared perfect. And, of course, you have no napkins or wipes. Just hand sanitizer, which, when mixed with jelly, might possibly become flammable. When you walk into that new house for the first time, you realize that the outside looked so nice because it is the only part of the house that had been redone. The inside is covered with wood paneling and shag carpets — and not the cool wood paneling and shag carpets, the actual, original wood paneling and shag carpets. So not cool. You walk out of the house. You throw out the donut. And that is that.

Then there are the fancier donuts. The ones that have a sample of what is supposed to be inside, like an Oreo (actual Oreos, not to be confused with my children who are Oreos). So you see this donut and you see the Oreo piece on top and you think, how can a donut be filled with Oreos? How does that work? Cookies and cream inside a donut? And then you take a bite, and gosh darnit, it does work. And you have no idea how. There is just enough filling that you can eat the whole thing (well, some people can eat the whole thing, some just nibble on the little piece of Oreo on the outside and call it a day), the donut part is light and fluffy, and the whole thing just works.

We can compare this donut to good relationships. From the outside, you are not sure how you can possibly get along with this type of person, but you just do, because they are filled with goodness. And they don’t give you a stomach ache.

And then there are the glazed donuts. The ones with the holes in the middle — because aren’t donuts supposed to have holes in the middle? Actually, when did they stop having holes in the middle? Anyway, the glazed donuts are the ones most like life. Sometimes you get one that is perfect.. Not greasy, not stale, just like eating sweet air. Unfortunately, sometimes you get one that is heavy and greasy and, well, if I can’t eat it, it is a really bad donut. But it is what you do with the donut that counts.

Just like life. If it isn’t what you thought it would be, throw it out and try something else. Don’t eat it just because it is there. Life is too short and there are too many yummy donuts to eat. And that is my Chanukah column on how life is like a donut. If you don’t say a bracha (blessing), you can’t get what you ask for. Ahh, if only it were that simple!

Wishing you all a happy holiday season!

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck got herself Chanukah presents this year. Actually, this year was no different than every other year so not sure what the big reveal is….

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