Religion & Beliefs
Chrismukkah? No, Thanks.
So as Chanukah winds down, I thought I’d address something that bothers me (and apparently Lilit Marcus, our editor around these parts), just a lil bit: "Chrismukkah." [sigh] Yeah, I get it. Why have two separate consumeristic commercialized juggernauts when … Read More
So as Chanukah winds down, I thought I’d address something that bothers me (and apparently Lilit Marcus, our editor around these parts), just a lil bit:
Yeah, 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…these two don’t exactly play nice together. And I’m 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, I’m talking about the fact that one is kinda sorta directly responsible for the other, in a not 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 declares war on them and their leader, the mysterious "Teacher of Righteousness."
Long story short, this little sect group decides 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 will end.
Sound like anyone we know? Yep. Except this is a good 150 or so years 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, they realize this whole "Teacher of Righteousness" deal isn’t really lucrative, so they decide to just repackage it, select everything in the "Teacher of Righteousness" cell [New Covenant, Resurrection, and all], press Ctrl+C, and then Ctrl +V on JC.
[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. But no, it didn’t take place during Pesach, seeing as how people were laying down palm branches, which means it was actually around Sukkot.) Because, 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 us, the Savior of which is "born" on Christmas. [Even though he was really born in the spring.] Celebrating these two holidays together makes as much sense as celebrating "BatmanJoker Day." Or some real world equivalent that makes more sense.
Anyway, chag chanukah sameach.