Night #4 – This one is for you Uncle H

Many of us know that the reason for the lighting candles during Chanukah is because of the ‘miracle’ of oil lasting for 8 days.  Therefore we also eat oily foods like fried potatoes and donuts.  This of course is a wonderful story to tell impressionable children and the ‘real’ story of Chanukah is quite different.  During the time of the Maccabees the celebration of the holiday of Sukkot was of primary importance.  Referred to as ‘heChag,’ ‘The Holiday’ the Judeans were not able to offer the sacrifices and fulfill the other obligations.  As soon as it was possible for the celebration of this holiday, after the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem, the people celebrated an 8-day holiday.  (Did I mention that Sukkot is an 8-day observance)?

The news that Chanukah was not a new holiday but an observance of a Biblical festival at the earliest convenience comes to many adults as a painful shock.  Far too many Jewish adults stop their Jewish learning at 13 and they do not pursue learning opportunities.  It is the responsibility for rabbis and Jewish educators to create learning opportunities that are interesting, informative, and do not perpetuate the pediatric stories that once made perfect sense.   When I told my Uncle H about the real story of Chanukah he was tremendously upset.  The jury is still out as to whether or not he will forgive me.

(Uncle H, the tooth fairy isn’t real either).

Thank you kind readers for the myriad of responses to yesterday’s post.

I personally am a fan of applesauce on my latkes though I did grow up in the same house as the person who commented on the use of sugar on latkes.  I don’t generally like sour cream on anything, not even baked potatoes really.

I also do enjoy the new twists on latkes.  My Papa used to tell my mom every year that his mother always put carrots in the latkes for sweetness.  My mom never put carrots in her latkes however this did not stop the tradition of my grandfather telling my mom every year about the carrots.  I love sweet potatoes and don’t think that they are bad in any form.  I also enjoy most other vegetables so I say go ahead, fry away!

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About rabbisteinman

I am a rabbi living in North America. I was ordained from HUC-JIR. This is my blog.
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2 Responses to Night #4 – This one is for you Uncle H

  1. Uncle H says:

    Dear Rabbi Steinman / Niece Ellie:

    I am honored that you would mention me in your blog. I have come to terms with the fact that the story of Chanukah MIGHT not be real and that one day’s oil MIGHT not have lasted eight days.

    Your version is well corroborated in both 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees and no mention of the story can be found in the Mishna. However, I do seem to recall that the more traditional version of Chanukah can be found in Shabbat 21 of the Gemara section of the Talmud.

    [ISN’T WIKIPEDIA GREAT!!!!!! 😉 ]

    Indeed, you had me accepting your learned explanation, until you wen way off track by blaspheming the Tooth Fairy. The Chanukah story may be apocryphal, but the Tooth Fairy came to me over a dozen times!!!!! I know that my Tooth Fairy liveth! (Job 19:25 slightly modified. Didn’t you do your thesis on Job?)

    So, my dear niece – you are right. It is time I cast off Chanukah beliefs. I am a man now and it is time for me to put away my childish ways (1 Corinthians 13:11….oh no he didn’t quote Corinthians!)

    May I request, however, that we never discuss whether Jonah really did live inside a great fish for 3 days – your answer may throw me over the edge.

    Love
    Uncle H

  2. Pingback: The hills are burning « Rabbi Eleanor Steinman's Blog

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