The Jewish Festival celebrates victory over assimilation and proselytization
No, the essence is not channukiyah, menorah, light, olive oil, Jewish history, dreidels, sufganiyot, latkes, or music. I know: bummer.
Rather, Chanukah is the celebration of Jews’ victory over assimilation to and oppression by nearby Gentile culture and its attempt to un-Jew us.
Still, in our days, Coca-Cola can be kosher. But, be careful what part of foreign philosophy, lifestyle, and habits you adopt.
We were victorious under the Maccabees, over 2000 years of Diaspora repression, mass murder, and expulsion, but it’s an ongoing struggle.
We need to understand deeply how faulty any equation between pagan-Greek-Christian Christmas and anti-Hellenist, anti-Missionary Chanukah is.
A prominent example, unjustly deemed largely innocent, is the Olympics and (sports) competitions in general. And then, I’m not referring to violence or aggression that sometimes sneaks in. The whole concept of people contending and rivaling is so unhelpful and degrading. One wins, a couple almost win, and the rest are losers. Not so far removed from jealousy, keeping up with the Jones, and comparing oneself or others to perfecter ‘creatures.’ No, Jewish competition is against one’s self of yesterday. In that race, everyone can be a winner and cheer for everyone.
Gentiles should celebrate Chanukah by uniting with each other to redouble their efforts to learn from the Jews (No, not the false equivalence of “the Christian-Jewish dialogue”), stop missionary activity toward the Jews, and express remorse for all disrespect toward Jews in the past and present.
BTW: The world’s tallest channukiyah is too tall and, therefore, not kosher.
Let’s reveal hidden lights by listening to these in-depth lectures.
The Chanukah quiz
1. Which parts of the Joseph story could never have happened in Paradise?
What do the following events share, and what does it matter?
Jacob showed his extra love for Joseph (Genesis 37:3).
Because of this, his brothers envied him (Genesis 37:4).
They stripped Joseph (Genesis 37:23).
The brothers fabricated proof that Joseph had died (Genesis 37:31).
The brothers try to convince Jacob that Joseph had died (Genesis 37:32-3).
Reuben and Jacob showed their mourning (Genesis 37:29 and 37:34).
Tamar disguised herself (Genesis 38:14).
Judah gave Tamar three pieces of collateral (Genesis 38:18).
Tamar proves to Judah that he should take responsibility (Genesis 38:25).
The midwife ensured proof that Zerah was born first (Genesis 38:28-30).
His employer’s wife had faked that Joseph laid with her (Genesis 39:12-17).
Joseph was made ready to see Pharaoh (Genesis 41:14).
Joseph was readied to appear as viceroy (Genesis 41:42).
The brothers didn’t recognize Joseph (Genesis 42:7).
Joseph alleges his brothers seek Egypt’s nakedness (Genesis 42:9, 12).
The bros express shock at the goblet in Benjamin’s sack (Genesis 44:13).
Joseph gave his brothers clothing (Genesis 45:22).
In the future, Judah will go in red (Genesis 49:11).
–> These events have in common all kinds of articles of clothing.
2. Which two events repaired much of the above mess?
–> Adam and Eve walked around naked without shame. The shame came after the primordial sin. Joseph rather escaped naked than sin.
–> The brothers were jealous of Joseph getting the special tunic. But when Joseph gave Reuben five sets of clothes, they were done being jealous.
3. The Code of Jewish Law opens by telling us that all of Jewish life is meant to teach us to restrict ourselves. Seventeen-year-old Joseph rejects the advances of an old woman. That makes him our only Jewish ancestor who’s called a saint!? If not that, then what makes him such a tsaddik?
–> I would say that what stands out is that Joseph recognizes that G^d put him in this story, and he plays along. He doesn’t try to free himself from it, even when he’s sold as a slave and lands in jail. He doesn’t ruin the plot.
4. What clarity could Joseph’s story send to Israel’s politicians?
–> Perhaps Joseph’s story may show us that Joseph didn’t mess up G^d’s plan. Rabin tried to force a peace process which so far has only led to needless bloodshed. Fanatical right-wingers now try piecing together a government to try preemptive strikes on Arab nationalists endangering us down the line; if we’d let them, this too may lead to unnecessary carnage. Sometimes there is no (immediate) solution. Let’s not play the sorcerer’s apprentice. Go with the flow instead of trying to force the impossible.