Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Rant #641: Hanukkah, Hanukkah
Tonight is Hanukkah.
I know that for most of our culture this means absolutely nothing, but for many of us, this holiday, which begins at sundown tonight, reflects the culmination of a year's work, and the time to party and celebrate.
Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah.
I know to most people, this means absolutely nothing, but to us 3 percenters--the percent of the U.S. population that is Jewish--it does mean something, maybe more to some than others, since there seems to be a rising tide for Jews to celebrate Christmas. No, I don't get it either.
Anyway, on the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah is not a major holiday. But it is a joyous and festive one, celebrating the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean revolt, during the second century BCE (before the common era).
After the Jews regained control of the temple, they found that they only had one night's oil for their candelabra, their eternal light. Somehow, through some type of miracle, the oil burned for eight days, hence the celebration of Hanukkah for eight days and the use of a menorah to signify the eternal light.
It is a joyous holiday and a festive one, but, as I said, it is not a major holiday on the Jewish calendar.
That is the reason that many give for high-profile Jews basically ignoring the holiday, at least out in public.
But of course, that is nonsense.
Whatever anybody says, Hanukkah is a huge holiday for Jews around the globe.
It is a gift-giving holiday, a holiday where you reaffirm your family ties, a holiday that is to be celebrated, and not shunned, like some unfortunate Jews do.
Sure, it's always right near Christmas, and a lot of people believe that it is the Jewish Christmas.
Well let me tell you, it isn't. It has nothing to do with Christmas at all.
However, because of the actions of some high-profile Jews, many people think that Hanukkah simply doesn't measure up, that Jews celebrate Christmas.
Sorry, at least in my family, we don't.
Christmas is a wonderful holiday, with its direction very similar to that of Hanukkah.
But Hanukkah isn't the Jewish Christmas much like Christmas is not the Gentile Hanukkah.
No matter how much society wants the two holidays intertwined, one has nothing to do with the other.
On that note, I wish everyone a joyous Hanukkah. Eat lots of sweet things, get and give your presents, and feel content with who you are and what religion you are.
I know that I am content, very content indeed.
Posted by Larry at 4:10 AM