I hate Hanukkah

November 29, 2007 at 9:55 pm 2 comments

Truthfully, I hate what’s been done to Hanukkah. It’s been usurped by Christmas – meaning Americanized, materialized, demoralized! Hanukkah is really a universal event – the first recorded war over religious persecution where the persecuted won. That whole 8 day thing with the oil – total mishagas. The rabbis decided (some 300 years later) that they didn’t want us celebrating a military victory and they wanted more God in the story. The real miracle was that a rag tag bunch of Jews said ‘enough’ and ‘we’re not going to assimilate.’ They used gorilla warfare (maybe the first time in history?) and won. The Temple was still destroyed, but they maintained their right to be Jews. That’s good enough for me.

Sarah Silverman’s Give the Jew Girl Toys

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Entry filed under: Jewish, Uncategorized. Tags: , .

Challenging Tradition, Young Jews Worship on Their Terms Battle over religion in the public square: Round 2?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eric Selinger  |  December 8, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Just discovered your blog, thanks to this post–I Googled the phrase “I Hate Hanukkah,” to be honest, & there it was.

    I wish I could embrace the version of the holiday you like, but the Macabees are just too Talibanish for my taste. (Jews like me were the first ones up against the wall in that revolution, I suspect.) Anyway, even if you disagree, I thought you might enjoy this version of the story, from another Jewish blog (not mine) that showed up when I searched that phrase:

    “Antiochus IV had, for a number of reasons that seemed like a good idea at the time, invaded Israel/Judea to find their weapons of mass destruction and depose their dictator. […] The Syrian army marched in and captured Jerusalem, where they were greeted as liberators. And then a fundamentalist cleric from one of the rural villages became the leader of an insurgency. His sons act as warlords, but, of course, they can’t stand up to the Syrians in combat, largely because, back in Antioch, most of the people are driving around in their giant carts with yellow ribbons saying “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS” on them. That, however, doesn’t keep the insurgency from killing the Syrians piecemeal. However, the insurgents DO manage to win one battlefield engagement, on the 13th of Adar, against the Selucid general “Nicanor”. And then the fundamentalist clerics declare that Adar 13 will be known as “Yom Nicanor” forevermore, to remind people of when they kicked Selucid butt. After the Selucids left, the fundamentalist cleric’s family became the new dictators, since they didn’t have dictators before, and they did the kind of good, careful, and just management of the country that you expect from religious fundamentalist dictators. This, of course, made Yom Nicanor deeply embarrassing to the non-fundamentalist religious leaders who came later, and who instituted a fast day on Adar 13, to wipe out the embarrassment of Yom Nicanor….”

    Here’s the source for you: http://xiphias.livejournal.com/384611.html.

    I’ll bookmark your blog, & look forward to reading it!
    –EMS

    Reply
  • 2. rebaaron  |  December 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Great comment Eric! And I should probably rephrase my statement in the original post. I don’t want to condone the real story of Hanukkah as much as disconnect it from the Americanization of Hanukkah (and Christmas).

    While not common knowledge, you’re right to point out the Jewish leaders of the day were elitist and not the pillars of Jewish values we might have liked them to be. However, the reality is that Antiochus et al attempted to dictate religious practice and prevent Jews from being Jewish. This is still oppression and the Jews took action.

    There’s a difference to me between responding to aggression and being the aggressor (ie Taliban). Thanks again for the comment!

    Reply

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