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Thread: Hanukkah for Dummies

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    Hanukkah for Dummies

    This article from Haaretz is one of the best I've read that puts Hannukah into a historical context. It explains why the Book of Maccabees didn't make the cut of the cannon of Jewish texts.

    I'm not in agreement with some of the political analysis at the end when it comes to US politics (it's Haaretz...); with Israeli politics, it's pretty on target.


    http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.760313

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    Moderator purplekitty's Avatar
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    I have to subscribe to read it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by purplekitty View Post
    I have to subscribe to read it.
    I'm not a subscriber... I don't understand

    Does my FB link work?

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    Moderator purplekitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TapToTalk View Post
    I'm not a subscriber... I don't understand

    Does my FB link work?
    Well, it didn't. But I just clicked again and now I can see the article.

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    Moderator purplekitty's Avatar
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    Interesting article. And now I have questions. So is that historical summary saying that Hannukkah is the product from a war between two different Jewish sects? And that it evolved in America to something it never was meant to be? Because it did read like, in America, it was the Jewish answer to what Christians did with Christmas in order to include Pagans.

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    Not different sects. Jerusalem was getting more "Hellenized" and adopting the practices of the Greco-Roman; including taking over the Temple and turning it into Gymnasium. The religious group objected and it was basically a civil war before it became a revolt. The religious group won in a very brutal manor. The Maccabean revolt was short lived and resulted in even worse result.

    So, the Rabbis who cannonized the text left it out for a lot of reasons. As the article said, it was basically forbidden. However, it was a part of the Apocrypha which is more of a Christian book than a Jewish book.

    It isn't clear why Hanukkah lingered as a minor holiday despite all this. We know it did because there is a very brief reference in the Talmud on how to light the Chanukiah (Menorah) properly.

    As the article also points out, early Israel brought back in a big way as it was a Zionistic story. America brought it back in a big way so that "we" had a holiday in December (that was basically my parents generation that did that).

    Anyway, since its a later story, it is a bit more historically accurate. And, there are the books of Josephus that document the Roman view of the revolt.

    Bottom line, it is a pretty amazing story of the constant tension between modernization and keeping tradition. When I see a blue Hanaukah stocking, I know Judah Maccabee would be really pissed.

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    Moderator jen's Avatar
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    That's so interesting- it's always been part of my consciousness as a holiday.

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