Monday, December 6, 2010

Which Chanukah are YOU Celebrating - Part Three

So, while I thought I was finished with my Which Chanukah are YOU Celebrating series, some wonderful peeps who read the first two postings came to me with more versions of the holiday (and reminded me also of one that I had taught and forgotten about). Since they are a little shy about leaving comments on the blog itself, here is an unplanned yet pleasant opportunity to present additional Chanukah stories that unfold:



The Search for Carbs & Fried Foods - Unlike Passover, when we search for foods - leavened products in that case - to destroy before the holiday even begins, this time we create foods with excessive carbs and fried fats. Could this be a throwback to an earlier evolutionary stage in which our ancestors had to overindulge in foods that would carry them through a winter-long hibernation? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks, JS for planting the seed of this idea.

Celebrating the Development of a Contemporary, Peaceful Judaism - This one, contributed by my friend SM, suggests that we look at the path from the centrality of the miracle of the war to the centrality of the miracle of oil as the movement of Judaism from a warlike culture to a peaceful and spiritual one. That same historical movement also took Judaism from animal sacrifice to prayer and virtually eliminated the possibility of capital punishment being implemented.

Celebrating Human Diversity - Years ago, I noted that one step taken by Hellenistic Jews was some type of reversal of circumcision that allowed them to look like the Greeks when participating in games in the gymnasia. The Greeks emphasized the beauty of the human body. Fine. But they had favorites for certain ideal body images, much like fashion magazines in today's world do. And circumcision wasn't part of that ideal image. Judaism, on the other hand, recognized the tzelem elohim (image of God) in all human beings, regardless of body type. As a matter of fact, the MIshnah (Sanhedrin 4:5) introduced a powerful argument for the holiness of human diversity:
Humanity [was created singly] to show the greatness of the Holy Blessed One, for if a human king strikes many coins from one mold, they all resemble one another, but the King of Kings, the Holy Blessed One, made each human in the image of Adam, and yet not one of them resembles his fellow.
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Happy Chanukah to all!