Being P.C. or C.P.
Potato latkas. Dreidels. Judah the Maccabee. Judith the Heroine. The Chanuka menora. Blue
cardboard boxes of all different colored candles. Chocolate Chanuka gelt. The song, Maoz Tzur. "I
had a little
dreidel..." Clay menoras made in Hebrew school.
Chanuka is made of memories and for memories. Taste the latkas and jelly donuts. See the candles
burn brightly in the menora. Hear the singing of the blessings over the menora. Touch the letters
engraved on the dreidle: nun, gimmel, hay, shin, "A Great Miracle Happened There."
Chanuka is a special time for family, friends and children. Chanuka is a Jewish holiday celebrating the
victory of the weak (militarily) over the mighty, the few (in number) over the many.
Chanuka is a celebration of the re-dedication of the Holy Temple after it had been defiled -- but not
destroyed -- by the Greeks. For the Greeks did not wish to destroy the Holy Temple nor the Torah;
they wished only to defile the Mitzvot.
The Greeks attempted to lessen their holiness, their uniqueness, their impact on our Jewish lives. "We
too, have wisdom," they declared. "We, too, have gods. We, too, have holidays. Know that your
Temple is like our temples. The wisdom of your Divine Torah is like our man-made wisdom. There is
nothing particularly holy about them."
So what do you say to a child who wants a "Chanuka bush," or who wants a photograph with
The easiest response might be: "They have their holiday and we have ours -- Chanuka."
That response might be on the verge of being P.C., but it's certainly not C. P.-- Chanuka Perfect.
You see, as soon as we start comparing Chanuka with the 25th of December, or when we try to turn
Chanuka into the Jewish equivalent of that day, it is as if we are handing over a victory to the
Celebrate Chanuka in the true spirit of the holiday -- not as a consolation or a competition -- but as
an opportunity to prove in our own lives that the ancient battle and victory over the Greeks was not
Light the Chanuka menora each night of Chanuka and watch Jewish pride grow as the numbers and
strength of the Chanuka lights increase.
Let the lights of the Chanuka menora -- and all of the beautiful and unforgettable Chanuka traditions,
customs, mitzvot and memories -- add their pure, holy light to the world until the G-dly light is
revealed in all its glory in the Third and Eternal Holy Temple.