Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Get your dreidles* ready. Chanukah's about to start. The word, "Hanukah/Hannukah/Chanukah...", Hebrew for dedication, can be spelled over a dozen different ways. So don't worry about misspelling it. Just enjoy the food and fun.
Tonight sparks our eight day celebration of the Maccabees' (small Jewish army's) victory over the evil Antiochus (Assyrian/Greek ruler) in days of 'ole We're talking really 'ole, nearly 200 years before Jesus' birth.
At the battle's end, the Maccabees entered the Holy Temple that had been savagely destroyed. One tiny bit of oil remained, and this drop miraculously provided sufficient light for the Maccabees to rebuild and rededicate the Temple.
In a world where intolerance and oppression thrive, we are wholeheartedly grateful for our freedom to worship -or not worship- as we choose. The Jewish people pray and work towards tikkun olam, a healed world, one at peace. On Hanukah, as during many other Jewish holidays, we rededicate ourselves to this cause.
Of course, no Jewish holiday is without yummy eats. Chanukah involves deep-frying; we use lots of that holy oily stuff called oil. To get a taste of Chanukah, I highly recommend picking up a Potato Pancake/Latke Mix at your local supermarket. You can find these in the Ethnic Foods section. Manischewitz and Streit's are two brands, but it's all good. Just add water and eggs, then get cooking. Mix in a few onion shards, and they'll look homemade. I like to douse mine in the sour cream-apple sauce combination. Of course, I've even enjoyed chocolate chip latkes, but that's an acquired taste.
Whatever your practice, may you appreciate life's miracles this holiday season and in the new year.
HAPPY CHANUKAH to those joining the festivities!
*Dreidles are the spinning tops we play with on Chanukah. Each side has a Hebrew letter, and each letter means something different (e.g., "Win half the pot" or "Lose one"). Play with pennies or, better yet, candy.