Emma Sass
Grateful to be Grateful

The Chanukah diet

So it seems like this year – perhaps more than other years – people are very concerned about potential weight gain over the traditionally greasy upcoming Jewish holiday.

Maybe it’s because it’s “early” this year or that it coincides with Thanksgiving – resulting in the potentially added calorie intake of the Thanksgivingukah holiday – or that there are an extra abundance of sufganiot flavors in this year’s market.

Whatever the reason, I am here to tell you that you don’t have to worry. At all. No need. Don’t panic about doing up your jeans belt. Because this Chanukah, we are going to really celebrate the miracle by losing weight.  Yes, you heard, these eight days are going to be absolutely miraculous in terms of getting in shape.

Why? You may ask. How? You may wonder. Are you nuts? You may be saying.

Hear me out: I believe people have gotten the whole miracle of the oil thing completely wrong in their minhagim throughout the years.  Rather than douse everything that can be consumed in oil, Chanukah should be the holiday of using oil sparingly.

Throw away your bottle of oil and use Pam spray instead. We learn from the Talmud (Shabbat 21b): “When the royal Hasmonean family overpowered and was victorious over [the Greeks], they searched and found only a single cruse of pure oil… enough to light the menorah for a single day. A miracle occurred, and they lit the menorah with this oil for eight days.”

So what exactly is this telling us for celebrating the miracle today? How precisely should we be integrating this into our holiday of Chanukah today? It is that we should be taking a tiny bit of oil – enough for one sufgania let’s say – and using it sparingly to try and re-enact the miracle of Chanukah and have it be enough to use for eight sufganiot.

Or, when making a batch of levivot that ordinarily would require lets say 800 ml of oil, making a mere 100 ml of oil be enough. In other words, everything we make that requires oil for Chanukah should be a mere eighth of what the recipe calls for. Because when we do that – and indeed only when we do that – will we be truly re-enacting the miracle of Chanukah and through that commemorating the festival as we should.

About the Author
At 48 years old, Emma Sass is blessed to be the most content she has ever been.
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