Tag Archives: Hanukkah

The 11/26/13 Joy Jar

26 Nov

Moi knows who she IS. She is a conservative Christian who follows a Jewish carpenter named Jesus. Jonathan Mizrahi wrote on his blog, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving:

A once in eternity overlap:
Next year features an anomaly for American Jews – The first day of Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving, on 11/28/2013 (meaning the first night of Hanukkah is actually the night before Thanksgiving). I was curious how often this happens. It turns out that it has never happened before…and it will never happen again.
(Correction: it happened once before, in 1888: see addendum below.)

Thanksgiving is set as the fourth Thursday in November, meaning the latest it can be is 11/28. 11/28 is also the earliest Hanukkah can be. The Jewish calendar repeats on a 19 year cycle, and Thanksgiving repeats on a 7 year cycle. You would therefore expect them to coincide roughly every 19×7 = 133 years. Looking back, this is approximately correct – the last time it would have happened is 1861. However, Thanksgiving was only formally established by President Lincoln in 1863. So, it has never happened before. Why won’t it ever happen again?

The reason is because the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000 years (not bad for a many centuries old calendar!) This means that while presently Hanukkah can be as early as 11/28, over the years the calendar will drift forward, such that the earliest Hanukkah can be is 11/29. The last time Hanukkah falls on 11/28 is 2146 (which happens to be a Monday). Therefore, 2013 is the only time Hanukkah will ever overlap with Thanksgiving. You can see the start date of Hanukkah as a function of time in the attached plots. In the long timescale plot, the drift forward is clear.

Of course, if the Jewish calendar is never modified in any way, then it will slowly move forward through the Gregorian calendar, until it loops all the way back to where it is now. So, Hanukkah will again fall on Thursday, 11/28…in the year 79811. http://jonathanmizrahi.blogspot.com/2013/01/hanukkah-and-thanksgiving-once-in.html

Many Christians acknowledge the Jewish roots of their faith. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has a great explanation of Hanukkah:

The Importance of Hanukkah
I once had a Christian pastor friend who said he thinks that Hanukkah is really a critical holiday for Christians, too. Why, I asked — I knew about the reference in John chapter 10, but nothing more. He said that if the Jewish Maccabees had not risen up against their oppressors, then secularism and paganism would have controlled the Jewish people. And if it would have controlled the Jewish people, Jesus would not have been able to be born as a Jew, to live a Jewish life, to see the Temple, and have the Bible. Judaism would have been wiped out.
He’s right that Hanukkah is a very important holiday. There is an attempt in every generation to rid the world of the Jewish people. And if not, there are those who want to accommodate and negotiate and be flexible. Then there are those who say they can do that sometimes, but there are times when you must draw a line in the sand. When they try to take away my faith I cannot accommodate, I cannot adjust, and I cannot compromise. The Maccabees drew that line in the sand, and they triumphed. If not for their triumph, Judaism would have been gotten rid of by those authorities, and Jesus the Jew would not have been around 165 years later… http://www.ifcj.org/site/PageNavigator/eng/inside/hanukkah

Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is a recognition of the Jewish roots of moi’s faith.

Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening’s forehead o’er the earth,
And add each night a lustre till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth.
Emma Lazarus, “The Feast of Lights”

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart
Hannah Senesh

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light –
in a little cruse – lasted as long as they say;
but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day:
let that nourish my flickering spirit.
Charles Reznikoff, “Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays”

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

We have focused on the miracle-thing and I think we often overlook the message of Hanukkah. To me, the core of the holiday is the cleaning of the temple…. The accomplishment was in restoring the temple to the purpose for which it was built. Now think of the temple as a symbol. Perhaps it represents my life. The world has tried to use me for its own (perhaps good, but none-the-less extrinsic) purposes. But now I can rededicate myself to my own original purpose.
Ralph Levy, “Hanukkah – Another View”

Let the straight flower bespeak its purpose in straightness – to seek the light.
Let the crooked flower bespeak its purpose in crookedness – to seek the light.
Let the crookedness and straightness bespeak the light.
Allen Ginsberg, “Psalm III”

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.
Jewish Proverb

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Chinese Proverb

Even our misfortunes are a part of our belongings.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,

The darkness of the whole world cannot swallow the glowing of a candle.
Robert Altinger

The 11/25/13 Joy Jar

25 Nov

Thanksgiving should be the OFFICIAL start of the Holiday Season which includes Christmas and Hanukkah. If you have no faith, then just celebrate being alive. Florida’s Natural has an interesting discussion of holiday traditions in Holiday Traditions. Why We Do What We Do:

Ever wonder how fruitcake became a holiday tradition? Why standing under the mistletoe means pucker up? We’ve uncovered the origins of some of the holiday’s most popular traditions.
Issue: December 2009
Why fruitcake during the holidays?
In 18th-century England, fruitcake had become so prevalent, there were laws enacted to restrict its consumption to Christmas, Easter, weddings, christenings, and funerals. Over time, the popularity of the fruity cake waned at the other occasions, leaving Christmas to be the lone holiday it’s associated with.
What’s the story behind the dreidel game?
When the Syrian Greeks prohibited Jews from practicing their religion, Jewish parents painted Hebrew letters on four-sided spinning tops called dreidels (from the German word, drehen, which means to spin) as a way to preserve their faith. The Greeks thought the Jews were just playing an insignificant game. The Hebrew letters on the dreidel stand for the phrase “A great miracle happened there.” This refers to the miracle celebrated at Hanukkah.
Why do people kiss under the mistletoe?
According to Scandinavian folklore, Baldur, god of light, was killed by a dart made of mistletoe. The tears of Baldurs mother, Frigga, became the white berries of the plant. Frigga decreed that mistletoe would never again be used as a weapon and that she would, instead, kiss anyone who passed under it.
How did the tradition of the Christmas tree begin?
Legend has it that in the seventh century a monk went to Germany to spread the Word of God. He used the triangular shape of a fir tree to illustrate the Holy Trinity. The converted people in Germany then began to revere the evergreen fir. By the 12th century, firs were being hung upside down from ceilings at Christmas as a symbol of Christianity. The first decorated tree is said to have been in Latvia in 1510.
Why light a menorah during Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is the “Festival of Lights”. The Hanukkah Menorah commemorates the Jews’ miraculous victory over the Greek-Syrian army (thousands of years ago) and the one-days-worth of pure oil that miraculously lasted for eight days in the Temple. Jewish custom insists that every family should light the wicks of the Hanukkah Menorah each night for eight days of the festival. The Hanukkah menorah contains nine candleholders — eight for each of the eight nights of the celebrations and the ninth, called Shamash, used only for lighting the others.
Why do people kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve?
A centuries-old legend claims that the first person you come in contact with when the clock strikes twelve sets the tone for your happiness and fortune in the New Year. A kiss with one you love equals good things, but kiss someone other than your true love, or no one at all, and misfortune is said to be heading your way….http://www.floridasnatural.com/lifestyle/household-advice/holiday-traditions-why-we-do-what-we-do

Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the Holiday Season.

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!”
Dave Barry

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.”
Erma Bombeck

“Humanity has always conquered the flux of natural time by means of a rhythm between active and passive time-spans. To reconquer his holidays, to establish a new and better time schedule for life, has been the great endeavour of man ever since the days of Noah.”
Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Out of Revolution: Autobiography of Western Man

“You know if the U.S. Government wanted to boost the economy there’s a simple solution make Black Friday the refund date for your state and federal taxes”
Stanley Victor Paskavich, Return to Stantasyland

I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays.
Henny Youngman

Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch.
Evelyn Glennie

I celebrate everyone’s religious holidays. if it’s good enough for the righteous, it’s good enough for the self-righteous, I always say.
Bette Midler

All holidays can be good times.
John Clayton