A little over two weeks ago my mother was diagnosed with Shingles. We know now that they had been coming on for at least a few days. We thought she had pulled something in her back, but no, this is attack No. 2, the first being twenty-something years ago. While the break-outs were far less than last time, the nerve pain remains at a lesser level. She is still on some heavy-duty pain meds for her age. This week she celebrates her 92nd birthday. We are hoping the pain is temporary. Her doctor gently explained to her that some times the pain remains and as you age, your vulnerability to permanent pain is increased. So we are waiting and praying for the pain to move on. I believe it will, and she will be celebrating her birthday and sitting at our Thanksgiving table on Thursday.
Hubby has had two minor surgeries over the same period of time. He is doing great. Our daughters, son-in-law and GrandGirls are coming from Kansas for Thanksgiving, so with some scary events behind us, we are doing what you are doing, being thankful, and preparing to share our gratitude and blessings with family.
Findalis has generously been posting here while I’ve been distracted. She mentioned that Chanukah (Hanukkah, Chanukkah) this year begins on the evening of November 27th, the first time in 125 years that the first day of Chanukah has fallen on Thanksgiving Day (or Thanksgiving Day has fallen on the first day of Chanukah). She calls it “Menurkey,” Menorah + Turkey = Menurkey. This rare day is also referred to as Thanksgivukkah. Visit her at Monkey in the Middle. She is always worth a read and is a great patriot.
If you are not familiar with what is behind the Chanukah celebration, the short video below by Rabbi Wyne explains it in a way you may not have heard it before. Note that he says the celebration is about “religious determination.”
Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish also writes today of a version of “religious determination,” or the lack of it, in Jewish Culture, Revelation and Continuity. He refers to a Pew survey and an article by Daniel Gordis. The focus is on “revelation” and the conservative Jewish community in America today. This from the Sultan:
Religion without revelation has no integrity of content. Without revelation, religion is mere philosophy. If the religion is not of divine origin, then it’s merely philosophy. And you don’t build a community around concepts only a fraction of its people would be interested in or understand.
Religion without revelation is random intellectual inquiry packaged as something more. Without a Divine core, it is reduced to searching for the “divine in all of us”. If there is no G-d who spoke to man and conveyed specific words, instructions and ideas, then all that remains is an aimless spirituality that provides no reason for maintaining the specific integrity of a community around it. Read it at Sultan Knish.
A timely truth for Jews and Christians.
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.
As we gather with family and friends between now and Christmas, we will give thanks for blessings, some more abundant, some more obvious, than others, but always sufficient. And more than any other year in my lifetime, I will keep present the fight others have sacrificed and died for to protect the revelation of Divinity, protected in my country as no other country does, by my American unalienable right. At the same time, I will pray for Divine protection right here on our own soil, not from the enemy without, but from the enemy within. Never before have we have had reason to be terrified of our own leaders on both sides of the aisle and a full half of our citizens engaged in an ignorant “hollow and soulless festival of the self.”
I’m looking forward to getting back to Maggie’s Notebook. It may take a few more days, but I’ll be baaaaack. In case I don’t have another chance to say it, Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Chanukah.
Chanukah with Rabbi Wyne (video)
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