It happens every year at this time: the battles of political correctness. When a community puts up a Christmas tree, one of two things happens. Either there is a battle to take it down, or someone fights to get a Chanukkiyah (that’s the real name, not Menorah), Kwanzaa candles, or a symbol of some other religion’s holiday placed right next to it. Then Fox News follows by running stories about the latest battle in the “war against Christmas,” and the ACLU starts suing any town whose mayor ever went to a church, mosque, and/or synagogue. Hey, ACLU: Give it up. America is a Christian country.
People who see December as an opportune time for the celebration of politically correct multiculturalism have to stop! I understand that people are trying to be fair, but it just doesn’t make sense.
I can’t speak for the other holidays, but I can tell you that as Jewish holidays go, Chanukah is among the least important, unlike the “big ones” like Passover, Sukkot, or Shavuot you can work, drive, etc. Guess what, the Books of the Maccabees weren’t even included in the Jewish canon (that’s another and longer story).
Nothing goes against the true meaning of Chanukah more than placing a Chanukkiyah near a “holiday tree” or using a “Jewish star” as a tree ornament. The true meaning of Chanukah is the exact opposite of that multicultural rubbish.
Only part of the story was the Maccabees fight for getting the Greeks out of Israel, and the cleansing and dedication of the Temple. The Chanukah Story was also about a civil war amongst the Jews. Judah and the boys were fighting other Jews who had turned away from their faith by combining it with Greek/Hellenistic practices. The resulting assimilation caused a loss of Jewish faith and tradition, and finally laws against practicing Jewish ritual.
Chanukah is a holiday about Jews fighting against assimilation, but the ACLU-types would have us celebrate it by assimilating.
Let me suggest that if Matthias and his sons were alive today, they would be fighting every Jew who wanted a six-foot menorah next to a Christmas tree, a star of David next to a cross, or even the mass attack of the multi-holiday Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus and Winter Solstice display. America is not a melting-pot its more like a gumbo where all the elements are in the same pot and existing together, but maintaining its original form. As Americans, we are all different and we must celebrate those differences, not merge them into one hodgepodge of progressive mediocrity that celebrates everything at the same time, while truly celebrating absolutely nothing.
I would also suggest that all Jewish people who celebrate both holidays “have a Christmas Tree for the kids” are also missing the meaning of Chanukah. The Maccabees were horrified when an idol was placed in the holy Temple. Rather than trying to fit with “modern” culture, they wanted to make sure that the House of God was a Jewish household. To remember the Maccabees, we should do the same with ours.
The Rabbis tell us that we are not to use the Chanukah candles for reading or seeing, as we would with a regular candle or a light bulb. The Chanukkiyah is supposed to be placed near a window so the light of God and his miracles will shine outward into the world. Mixing up Chanukah with other people’s traditions diminishes the light and message of Chanukah as well as those other traditions.
And to my Christian friends: Please don’t go get assimilated on me either. That tree in the mall is a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree. Santa is not a secular character; he is Saint Nick. You have a nice tradition. “Keep the Christ in Christmas.” Don’t try to make it politically correct by taking away its religious nature. Or as Judge Judy would say, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!”
America is a great country. It is great not because everyone celebrates the same, but because we can all celebrate our differences.
Chanukah starts tomorrow night, to all my friends celebrating the holiday, may you have a joyous holiday. Or as we say in Hebrew Chag Chanukah Samayach. Happy Chanukah Holiday.