the most wonderful time…

so as chanukah winds down i thought id address something that bothers me just a lil bit:

“chrismukkah”

[sigh]

yeh, i get it. why have two separate consumeristic commercialized juggernauts when you can combine them not unlike the voltron/captain planet/power ranger cartoons of yore?

well, see…cuz these two dont exactly play nice together.  and im not just talking about the fact that one celebrates the miracle of overthrowing the greek attempt to supplant judaism versus a commeration of the birth of the dude who sparked a religion which attempt[ed]/[s]… to supplant judaism…which is oxymoronic enough in itself. no, im talking about the fact that one is kinda sorta directly responsible for the other, in a not happy fun kinda way.

so we all know the chanukah story bit, right? mattathias and his sons judah, jonathan, simon, eliezer, and, um, john. [john? really?  that’s like “bob the maccabee”.] anyhoo, they kick out the greeks, restore the temple, find some energy save oil and yay judaism!..but then AFTER that? well, jonathan becomes high priest, which upsets the usual priestly family and their followers. also, these followers have decided that judaism has gotten a bit too lax, so they develop this system of strict purity rules and abandon the lunar calendar for the solar one. they try to convince jonathan to follow and promote this new version of judaism to which he says no and pretty much decalres war on them and their leader, the mysterious “teacher of righteousness”.

long story short, this little sect group decide to go off to themselves and follow this “new covenant” they’ve created and when their leader the “teacher of righteousness” dies, they begin to preach that he will come back from the dead to finish his work and shortly after that the world ends.

sound like anyone we know? yep. except this is a good 150 or so yrs before our good buddy jc even comes on the scene. interestingly enough though, his parents [as well as that john the baptist dude] were all a part of this little sect, usually known as the “essenses”. apparently once j comes around, everyone realizes this whole “teacher of righteousness” deal isnt going anywhere so they decide to just repackage it, superimpose evrything from the “teacher of righteousness” [new covenant, resurrection, and all] and just dump it on him.

[and on a random sidenote: the weird solar/lunar calendar switch explains some of the loopy things in the new testament timelines. [yes the “last supper” was a seder service. no, it didnt take place during pesach, seeing as how ppl were laying down palm branches, which means it was actually around sukkot] b/c as we all know solar and lunar dates rarely meet up exactly. and especially not after 150 years.]

so essentially chanukah is the jewish celebration of the beginning of the chain of events which leads to the birth of a religion that’ll spend a good 2000 years persecuting them, the savior of which is “born” on xmas. [even tho he was really born in the spring.] celebrating them together makes as much sense as celebrating “batmanjoker day.” or some real world equivalent that makes more sense.

anyway, chag chanukah sameach

–MaNishtana

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9 thoughts on “the most wonderful time…

  1. This time of year can present a challenge for interfaith families. My Jewish ex whose mother was Jewish and father was Lutheran grew up celebrating Chrismukkah. He was always uncomfortable with it and now doesn’t celebrate either. It can also be a problem for unaffiliated Jewish families who are isolated from the larger Jewish community. Sure, picking one holiday and sticking to it would be easiest, but that’s easy for those of us not in interfaith families or similar situations to say.

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    • oh theres no problem with celebrating one AND the other. its just that celebrating them COMBINED makes no sense and ultimately has to strip BOTH of religious meaning for any coherence to be had between the two.

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    • i think its more than reasonable. after all, the whole reason why an extra month is added to the calendar in a jewish leap year is so that the festivals stay “in their proper time”. [cant remember where it says that at the moment]. so its probable that every few years pesach would eventually fall behind a month…and then another month…and another month…until eventually its in the fall. and after a century? it could end up ANYWHERE

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      • What I meant to say is that the Jewish calendar is solar AND lunar (unlike the Muslim calender which I understand is lunar only). Jewish holidays are seasonal right from the Torah, and the agricultural connection would’ve been even more prominent in those times. I would’ve thought the leadership would’ve figured out a solution to the discrepancy very early on, even if it’s not necessarily the same one we use now. Celebrating Chag Ha’Aviv in autumn makes no sense in an agri society.

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  2. Pingback: Thoughts On This, the Last Night of Hanukkah « On Being Both

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