Today is the fourth day of Hanukkah. This is a wonderful holiday – we celebrate or remember regaining freedom from oppression, re-instating traditional culture, engaging in resistance, suffering from hubris, returning to living under oppression.
Everybody relates the miracle of the container in the recaptured temple which had only enough oil for one day, but lasting for eight days instead.
Not all parts of the Hanukkah story of the Maccabees are told to the children. Those Maccabees were no angels! They were tough, mean, determined warriors. They offed their own people who refused to observe traditional customs… like circumcision and worshipping their own G-d. This is our take on the story. For your own interpretation, either read the Books of Maccabees or this somewhat sanitized, but shorter version.
They also invited the Romans to come in and kick out the nasty opposition! Big mistake! Hope that’s not like today’s leaders in Israel asking Americans to help them fight the Arabs surrounding them. Some of those Arab nations are beginning to recognize that Israel is a better, more reliable, more competent, um…actually friendly, friend than some of the other Arabs, or Russians, or even, the British.
IFO is reading discussions of Hanukkah in German and English. No one mentions the more grisly, political aspects of the story. They probably don’t want to take the fun out of the holiday. Just play games, have parties, and salivate over the prospect of gorging on latkes and applesauce and sour cream, sufganiote (jelly doughnuts).
Thus, you can learn to laugh and sing and play to drive away horrible memories of terror and pain. Not a bad coping strategy, eh?