Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hanukkah And Christmas, Again

I have posted this meditation on the complimentarity of Hanukkah and Christmas every year since I started this blog four years ago. Last year I added something more. This year, I suggest one might get into the spirit of the moment by listening to this remarkable broadcast on Judas Maccabeus from the BBC's wonderful "In Our Time" series with Melvyn Bragg.

The scholars interviewed give a very rich context for the Hasmonians' revolt, and for the ultimate collapse of their regime, which, I dare say, no Hellenized Jew, from Philo to Maimonides, Herzl to Henny Youngman, would have cared to live under. The final word goes to Youngman, who said that the miracle of Hanukkah is actually recurrent: "You eat a latke and it burns for eight days."

4 comments:

Y. Ben-David said...

Maimonides was a "Hellenized" Jew? You mean he pulled his foreskin forward so it looked like he didn't have Brit Milah so he could compete naked in the Gymnasium (Greek for "place of nakedness") and look like the rest of the fellas?
Obviously you have neither read Maimonides and/or you apparently don't know what a "Hellenized Jew"
was. Study of Greek philosophy, as Maimonides did, does NOT make one a "Hellenist". The Rabbis of the Mishna and Talmud had great respect for Greek science and a Torah Scroll can be written in Greek letters!
The "Hellenism" the Rabbis objected to was a low-class form of Greek culture with an emphasis on epicurean pleasures, athletic games at the expense of Jewish study and disregard of Jewish tradition.

Potter said...

Thank you for the link to the BBC. I realized after the fact that I disregarded tradition by making my own (stoneware) menorah design-- unkosher my niece said. The shamash sits above, but the other candles are not on the same level, the whole forming an arch. I love it though and will make another. What a thrill to see this being used.

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