The other day, we had a laugh at Lawrence Kellerman's well-meaning but ultimately misguided attempt to convince Jews to stop celebrating Christmas. He's right that it makes no sense for a Jew to throw in his lot with a holiday long associated with Jew-hating, but wrong because he doesn't seem to understand that the facts of history are almost irrelevant, once emotions have come into play. Chanuka, as others have remarked, proves the point.
Perhaps 50 to 70 percent of the Jewish people, for instance, would be unlikely to celebrate Chanuka if it mattered to them that the Maccabees were religious intolerants who were ready to execute Sabbath desecrators, and insisted on the special prerogatives of king and priest. The other 30 percent would probably be a little less enthusiastic about the holiday if they remembered the disdain Chazal had for the Hashmonites. And all of us would, I suspect, be lukewarm on the holiday if we were historically sensitive to the connections between Chanuka and Saturnalia, and to the possibility that our candles have more to do with the Roman feast than any oil miracle
None of this matters though, not two-thousand years later, and not after the holidays have acquired their own special significance to us. This is why all of us still honor Chanuka, and why the Kelerman Christmas polemic has no hope of changing any one's mind.
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Buy my wife a gift (please)