Friday, December 11, 2009
Rant #151: It's Hanukkah!
This has been a bizarre week, to say the least.
We have the continuing Tiger Woods saga, which shows no signs of stopping. It seems that every day, a new revelation comes out. The latest is that among his “harem” of lovers were several porn stars. And how come every woman that he allegedly slept with wants to talk about it?
And then comes my personal saga, with my doctor making national headlines for selling painkillers to undercover cops at his practice, which is a few yards away from the high school. You just don’t know who to trust nowadays, and this is a person I certainly put a lot of trust in. I am still flabbergasted about his entire mess.
And then we have those two female teachers who decided to get conjugal at the school that they teach in. If this didn't satisfy every young male fantasy, I don't know what could! And yes, both have tenure, so I wonder what New York City Schools are going to do with these two over-sexed educators?
Well, I am wondering what else can happen this week—but I am heartened by the fact that one of my most beloved holidays starts tonight.
At sundown, the celebration of Hanukkah begins. To those who don’t know or don’t realize it, Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas—it just falls out nearby to the Christmas celebration in December (most of the time; sometimes it is in November based on the Jewish calendar).
Like Christmas, Hanukkah has its roots in religion--we sometimes forget that, don't we?-- and the history of that religion, which goes back thousands of years. It's not just geared to gift giving, although that is part of it.
The most popular religious symbol of the holiday is the menorah. It contains nine candles. Eight of the candles signify the number of days that the original candelabra burned in the Old Temple. The story is that there was only a thimble-full of oil in this original lamp after the Temple was destroyed, and based on this lack of burning fluid available, the menorah could not have burned for eight days—but it did.
This signifies something of a miracle, and it also symbolizes the hope and belief in God that Jews have.
The ninth candle is to light the other candles during the eight-day celebration.
We give out gifts, one a day, and we eat delicious foods like potato latkes during this holiday. We spin the dreidel, which is something of a minor betting game where participants pick the symbol that the dreidel, or top, will land on. The winner gets whatever was bet.
The gifts are supposed to be small, like a couple of pieces of chocolate, some minor cash, or an apple. But like many Jews, we go all out during this holiday, and yes, I bought my son Beatles Rock Band this year.
So with all the nonsense going on, my touchstone this week is Hanukkah. Christmas is a great holiday, but for me, it is simply a day off.
Hanukkah is my holiday, and with a week like this, I personally need some nice things to happen to my family and I.
And the gifts are nice, even if my mother still buys me some dress shirts and pants for the holiday, just like she did when I was five years old.
Oh well, tradition does not change, and neither does Hanukkah.
Posted by Larry at 3:59 AM