Happy Hanukkah – a (snake) oil story

images-4Hanukkah was a relatively minor holiday until modern times, when it was puffed up mainly so Jewish children wouldn’t feel bad while their goy friends celebrate Christmas (and get gifts).

images-6Hanukkah centers upon the Maccabees, a bunch of religious fanatics who won what was at least partly a civil war against more moderate Jews backed by the Seleukid Empire. The victorious Maccabees imposed their fierce religion on the country, including forced conversions. Not a story I personally find inspiring.

Nor do I believe in miracles. To my mind, every event has a naturalistic explanation; if it doesn’t, it presumably didn’t happen. The supposed Hanukkah miracle was that when the Maccabees seized the temple, they found only one night’s oil supply for the sacred lamp, but it burned for eight nights.

images-7This you call a miracle? I say lame-o. Somebody was pulling our legs here. Maybe they simply misjudged the amount of oil. Or were ahead of their time with energy conservation. And besides, you’re telling me those Maccabees, controlling the country, couldn’t scrounge up a little more oil for one measly lamp?

Reminds me of the story of the guy whose neighbor boasts insufferably about his gas mileage. So to mess with him, the guy sneaks gas into the neighbor’s tank at night, and now he’s bragging of truly unbelievable mileage. Until the guy reverses the process and starts siphoning gas out at night!

Maybe some prankster was similarly messing with the temple lamp’s oil, to make fools of the Maccabees.

images-3Nevertheless — I sincerely wish all my readers a happy and healthy Hanukkah. L’chaim!

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3 Responses to “Happy Hanukkah – a (snake) oil story”

  1. Frank Bath Says:

    I don’t want to know about that but thank you for the effort. it’s still religious tripe.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Hanukkah use to be a major holiday. It was our first holiday of national independence. We beat the rump of the Selucid empire and again became a “free” people in our homeland, until Rome came for us.

    Under Roman rule, certain rabbis moved against the nationalistic aspects of our “Festival of Freedom”, fearing the consequences of revolting against Rome. They stressed the “oil light miracle” story, a return to prayer and devalued our warrior tradition. After the Great Revolt, Rome exiled us and Hanukkah became a minor “holiday of lights”, until modern times.

    I question if our tribe would even exist today, if not for the brave “fanatic” Maccabees of 2100 years ago.

  3. rationaloptimist Says:

    History is always open to interpretation.

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