Actually this gentile would never presume to ‘explain’ a Jewish holiday, but for a couple of years now, I’ve let Rabbi Wyne tell the story in
the video below. Chanukah, the Festival of Lights began tonight (and I’m a few hours late). My friend findalis at Monkey-in-the-Middle celebrates Hanukkah/Chanukah and has more information along with a Peter, Paul and Mary video of why the light must not go out.
Then Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish has A Holiday of Resistance post up tonight. He details the cultural richness of the celebration, unless…your celebration isn’t culturally rich:
“Holidays aren’t mere parties, they’re messages. Knots of time that we tie around the fingers of our lives so that we remember what our ancestors meant us to never forget. That they lived and died for a reason. The party is a celebration, but if we forget what it celebrates, then it becomes a celebration of nothing but materialism. A hollow and soulless festival of the self. The Maccabees fought to resist having their culture and their religion, replaced with just that kind of empty hedonism and self-worship. They fought because they believed they had something worth fighting for. Not for their possessions, but for their traditions, their families and their G-d. The celebration of Chanukah is not just how we remember them, but how we remember that we are called upon to keep their watch. To take up their banner and carry their sword.”
The post is not only about the ancient Festival of Lights, but about the challenges of keeping the light burning in this modern day. Daniel is one of the finest bloggers, reporters and storytellers on the Internet. If you do not know his work, A Holiday Resistance is the perfect post to sample. Notice that a link to his blog lives in my right sidebar. He is truly one of the Web’s topic titans.
Chanukah with Rabbi Wyne (video)