After reposting my first (C)han(n)uk(k)a(h) article on Facebook and elsewhere, I got (mostly) positive reactions from my Jewish and Christian friends who know when not to take me too seriously and negative, horrified reactions from non-Jewish readers who called me everything from a self-hating Jew (because religiously, I prefer Yom Kippur and Passover to Hannukah) to simply a jerk. So with a reaction like that, you know I HAD to come up with MORE reasons I HATE HANUKKAH and would like to see it removed from the Jewish calendar.
1. Apparently the early rabbis hated this holiday too
According to Congregation Beth El Binah’s Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor, in the early rabbinic period of Judaism, the rabbis tried to eliminate this holiday too. (Early rabbinic Judaism dates from the expulsion from Jerusalem in 68 until about 600). They eliminated two other holidays — the New Year of Kings (secular New Year) and the New Year for Animal Tithes (tax day).
The New Year for Kings took place on the first day of the year. So now we celebrate the New Year on Rosh Hashanah (the religious new year), which takes place on the first day of the seventh month. You gotta love a calendar that does that. It would be as if New Years was still on January 1, but we didn’t change the year number until July 1. This is going to the top of my list of why I love Rosh Hashanah. But I digress.
Apparently, the rabbis tried to get rid of Hannukah also, because of its glorification of war. But it was so popular at the time, their efforts failed. That was when they came up with the myth of the oil to de-emphasize the military component.
2. The Hasmoneans took the throne
I know! I’m usually a very tolerant person, but I can’t stand Hasmoneans either. As a result of the guerrilla war that defeated the Greeks, the Jews established a Jewish state (Judea, which was located in what is now the West Bank) that lasted for 90 years — the last independent Jewish state until Israel in 1948.
Judea was a good thing. But run by the Hasmoneans? Please. They weren’t even from the Davidic line and within a generation they were inept and corrupt and unpopular. And who would vote for a non-Davidic king? (What? They didn’t vote…?)
3. Because of Hasmonean corruption, the Romans were invited in
And who needs that, friends and countrymen? And I’m not lending anyone my ears.
4. More myths and lies
The myth of Judah Maccabbee — he was dead long before the war was over and the temple was retaken.
The myth of that the war was to retake the temple — even before the guerrilla war was won, the Jews had retaken the temple in Jerusalem. The war was really a war of independence rather than religious freedom, but that doesn’t make a good religious holiday.
5. Holidays shouldn’t honor people
One of the reasons my new-found heroes, the rabbis from the early rabbinic period, hated this holiday was the glorification of Judah Maccabbee.
In Judaism, we respect our forefathers and foremothers, we honor our heroes, we respect our leaders, but holidays only honor God. This holiday came too close to deifying Judah Maccabee. Especially originally. That was another reason the rabbis added the oil myth — to change the holiday to focus on a miracle performed by God. Even if it was a lie.
And while Judah Maccabbee gathered his guerrilla army to fight this war, he died long before the Jews won. His son, Ho Chi Maccabbee (not his real Hebrew name) finished the job. But if the goal was retaking and rededicating the temple, that was already done.
6. New evidence shows that Hasmonean rule extended deep into the Negev
The Jerusalem Post reported last week that Hasmonean rule extended deep into the Negev Desert. What were they thinking?
If you’re extending an empire, go west and take a port along the Mediterranean. Acquire some lovely beachfront property. Go north and take Golan to build a ski resort. But the Negev? They didn’t even build a shopping mall anywhere in the Negev until the 1990s when the Kenyon HaNegev mall opened in Beersheva. Not one Chinese restaurant in the Negev until the mall opened. For almost 2,000 years, where did Jews eat on Christmas?
7. This new research shows that the Hasmonean army was mostly mercenary
“The army that Alexander Jannaeus [the last Hasmonean leader before the Romans took over] engaged was for the most part a mercenary force that was composed of non-Jewish soldiers,” the Jersusalem Post reported last week.
More proof the Hasmoneans were inept. They hired Halliburton contractors? Blackwater guards? How did that work out for you, Alex? And what’s with the Greek name? Oh, right, another reason the Romans took over.
8. We’ve been so busy writing all the Christmas music, the only new Hanukah song is by Orrin Hatch
I guess the Mormon senator from Utah decided that if Jews like Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond could make millions with their Christmas albums and Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, Johnny Marks and Mel Torme could write all the Christmas music, turnabout is fair play. Yes, “White Christmas” and Rudolf are all Jewish creations.
In case you haven’t heard it, click on above link for “Eight Days of Hannukah” by Sen. Orrin Hatch. It’s not as annoying as that damn dreidel song.
9. Hannukah ham
A sign in Balducci’s, a deli in New York City!! Really?
Even my local Fiesta supermarket calls a challah “challah” and not “egg bread.”
10. George Bush’s Hanukkah wish.
He’s gone, but not forgotten. His words. His voice. Someone else’s animation.
“I couldn’t imagine someone like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hannuka.”
Had to put that in so that people who hate this post can compare me to bin Laden, point to us as the “liberal press” or some other nonsense.
Hannukah samayach. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.