Wow, we made it to 8 Crazy Nights! Homes, sanctuaries and clothes filled with oil, all spun out of dreidel and filled with gelt (and maybe a little guilt too from the holiday’s menu), presents exchanged (and maybe even re-gifted), and our little box of candles now empty, we sit back, reflect and take in the fantastic glow of 8 candles. The Hanukkah menu: I expanded my Hanukkah menu this year by experimenting with including other non-traditional, yet oily foods. My top favs were fish n’ chips and egg rolls. Next year, samosas. The dreidel game: For gelt this year we used the standard shiny wrapped chocolates, but included as well Reese’s pieces. The presents: Some of the night’s parties were so fun the kids forgot all about presents (until the next morning).
What new traditions did you create or old stand by’s did you perpetuate this year? Do you have new ideas for next year?
Share them with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
The last music video above sings the question, “What do I Stand For?” After 8 nights, I’m ready to sit and take a rest, but the question I think is a good one for the holiday. Indeed, Hanukkah is all about celebrating with food, music and games. It’s also about praise and gratitude and cultivating presence. We get caught up in the story of oil that miraculously lasted for 8 days and the military might of a few over the many. Or, it’s the celebration of freedom to be able to practice culture and religion as we choose that sticks with us. As we wrap up 8 crazy nights, we recall the 8 ancient decrees of Antiochus IV (167-164BCE), and we learn that even today we can’t take anything for granted.
1. No Jewish sacrifices could be offered in the Temple. Instead, mandatory sacrifices of pigs and other impure animals were dedicated to Zeus.
2. Pagan temples were to be built throughout Judea.
3. No circumcision was allowed on pain of death to child, parent and mohel.
4. The Torah was to be forgotten and its legal system replaced with Greek law.
5. Shabbat and holidays were to be desecrated.
6. The celebration of the Emperor’s birthday was enforced.
7. Participation in Dionysian processions crowned with ivy wreaths was required.
8. It was prohibited to identify oneself as Jewish.
Reviewing these 8 decrees after 8 days of celebration, it becomes incumbent upon us to ask and talk about these concluding questions, “What do I stand for today? What do I want our people to stand for tomorrow?”
Thank you for celebrating and learning together with me as I mashed up Hanukkah topics over these 8 Crazy Nights of Hanukkah!
Happy 8th Night!
Rabbi Mark Melamut