Friday, December 03, 2010

The Grinch Who Stole Chanukah

A Guest Post By E. Fink

Jacobson writes a strange column in which he compares Chanukah to Christmas. It is sad to see how much he wishes he could celebrate Christmas instead of Chanukah. He finds little value in Chanukah celebrations and remembers his brutal childhood where he never got presents and his friends got Christmas gifts.

It's pathetic really.

He displays an ignorance of Chanukah that should preclude his criticism of the holiday. He laments the dearth of Chanukah music and prefers Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to Maoz Tzur. He says Chanukah is supposed to be a children's holiday. Yet the children dislike it.

The most egregious paragraph is:

The cruel truth is that Hanukkah is a seasonal festival of light in search of a pretext and as such is doomed to be forever the poor relation of Christmas. No comparable grandeur in the singing, no comparable grandeur in the giving, no comparable grandeur in the commemoration (no matter how solemn and significant the events we are remembering), in which even the candles are small and burn out pretty much the minute you light them.

And he is wrong. Chanukah is not in search of a pretext. Perhaps there are many Jews who are searching for that pretext, but Chanukah has its pretext. Further, its pretext and meaning are absolutely independent of Christmas.

I wonder if Jacobson complains about the boring New Year's celebration Jews are forced to endure in lieu of the revelry of January 1st...

We have different celebrations than other religions and cultures. If you know more about the celebrations of others, the flaw is in your understanding and appreciation of your own holiday. It is not the holiday itself.

Search for more information about inane Op-Eds in the NY Times at

No comments: