Sunday, December 6, 2015

Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends

image from here.

Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends. Light the candles, drink the wine, fry the latkes and celebrate. Make of yourself a light! L’chaim!

"Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights that rolled around usually at the same time as Christmas. Yet it is a holiday with many meanings and expresses many events at once. The medieval Jew embraced it: the idea of the smaller army of Jews rising up to conquer their Gentile oppressors was irresistible.

Always a popular theme with Jews in Europe when they were ousted from so many places as they had been in the Holy Land. They related. Given that this is a holiday with no biblical source (the Books of Maccabees where at least part of the Hanukkah celebrations can be found, are listed in Christian bibles, which are apocryphal to Jews and not considered part of the canon), there was a clash between those rabbis who followed oral rabbinic traditions and those that were strictly biblical. (The same clash occurs between Protestants and Catholics regarding traditions with a small "t" and Traditions with a large "T". In the Last Supper, for instance, where the gospels say that Jesus is reclining at table is a perfect example of the importance of following tradition with a small "t". Biblical commandments in Exodus have God exhorting Moses to instruct the people to eat their Passover standing up as a people in flight, ready to high-tail it when the time is right. But sometime between the time of Moses and the time of Jesus, Jewish tradition changed to the partaking of the Passover in a reclining position. As it says in the Haggadah [the prayer book used during the Passover Seder] the Egyptian Hebrews stood to eat just as a slave stands to eat in the presence of his master.

But to recline is to exclaim one's freedom. Thus Jesus, as a good Jewish boy, follows Jewish tradition rather than God's biblical command.)

More about the medieval take on Hanukkah at this link (also a great blog to follow)

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