Discover more from Rationalist Judaism
Both secular Jews and Orthodox Jews are sometimes ignorant of Chanukah
Some people miss Chanukah when it's over.
Some people miss Chanukah when it's happening.
Story number one: Several years ago I was once at a printing house, arranging to print a sample chapter about leopards from the Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom (and you can download the chapter for free on this page). I told the secular Israeli woman in charge of the printing schedule that I wanted it out in time for Chanukah, because the subject matter is related to Chanukah.
"What do leopards have to do with Chanukah?" she asked.
It was a very reasonable question. I explained that in Scripture, Daniel has a prophetic vision in which he sees various animals which represent different kingdoms. He sees a leopard (with four heads and four wings!), which represents Greece.
"But what does Greece have to do with Chanukah? she asked.
Story number two: I heard a dvar Torah which, as a launching point, discussed the halachah that if the candles on the menorah blow out, you need not rekindle them. The speaker went on to describe how the message of Chanukah is that everything is in Hashem's hands, about how the Greek army was defeated entirely by way of supernatural miracles, and about how the ultimate message of Chanukah is that Torah and mitzvos is all that counts, and hishtadlus is entirely irrelevant, and basically pointless and unnecessary.
Note that the above story shows why yesterday’s humorous post is in fact very close to reality. Charedi/mystical approaches to Judaism and reality are sometimes diametrically opposed to the events and celebration of Chanukah.
Meanwhile, if you're in Israel for Chanukah, come visit The Biblical Museum of Natural History and learn more about the connection between leopards and Chanukah, along with appreciating the awesomeness of a full-size battle elephant! Book online at www.biblicalnaturalhistory.org/tickets.
Thanks for reading Rationalist Judaism! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.