Sucks to Christmas, We’ve got Doughnuts!

Yes, as some of you are aware, we are currently in the middle of Chanukah, and we’re loving every minute of it. We’ve got so many things to be excited about during this wonderful holiday, and I’m really enjoying how much the kids are getting into it this year.

Oh sure, there’s presents, and latkes, and sufganiot(doughnuts), and extra cycling to compensate for all that fatty food(a win-win as far as I’m concerned), and lighting the chanukiah every night, and raucous games of dreidel that, we’re quite certain, have inadvertently introduced our children to the emotional roller coaster that is gambling. Their little eyes growing large as they roll yet another gimel, and win the pot, meanwhile their poor father keeps getting nun, and is perpetually the first one out of the game(I don’t know if they like winning more, or watching me lose. Either way, they’re having a blast. After they’re in bed, I’m just going to eat a bunch of chocolate and sufganiot anyways. Who’s the loser now?! Suckers!)

Aside from all that, there’s all the really fun songs. Oh, you don’t know any Chanukah songs? Well perhaps that’s because you’re not looking in the right places.

Tevye and Saarah’s favourite Chanukah Songs:

The Hanukkah Dreidel Song(not the one you’re thinking of)

The Latke Song – Debbie Friedman

Dreidel – Erran Baron Cohen(yes, the brother of Sacha Baron Cohen)

I suppose we could just do all these things for fun, but it’s so much better if we can relate to the holiday on a personal level.

A brief summary of the story of Chanukah, for those who aren’t familiar: The land of Israel had been taken-over by the Greeks, and the nation was no longer allowed to do anything they held sacred. Circumcision? Outlawed; Studying Torah? Outlawed; Sacrifices at the Temple? Not only outlawed, but the Greeks had defiled it, and turned it into a temple to one of their gods.

So they studied in secret, and when a Greek soldier came to investigate, they pretended they were just playing dreidel.

One day, a scrawny little religious man named Judah Maccabee decided he’d had enough of this, and assembled a small guerrilla army of like-minded men. They, miraculously, defeated the Greek army, driving them out of the land. They reclaimed the Temple, rededicating it to Hashem. One of the first things they wanted to do was light the menorah, but they only had enough oil for one day. Due to the process of creating oil pure enough for the menorah, it was going to take 8 days to get more. What to do? Light it now, because they could show their excitement for being able to do the mitzvah? But it’s not going to stay lit for more than a day, and it’s supposed to stay lit forever. The other option is they wait a week, when they know they’ll have enough to keep the fire burning.

They were so excited that they couldn’t wait, and went ahead and lit it with the small amount of oil they had, and Hashem made the oil last for the full 8 days until more could be produced.

So what do we take away from this story? It really depends on who you ask. Some will say that it is a triumph for orthodoxy, while other people will claim that there are political undertones. I, however, have taken a different approach: It’s important to be yourself. Don’t bow to peer pressure. This is what I’ve tried to impart to the kids. If something is important to you, no matter what others think of it, that’s what you need to do. Not only that, but you should always let others do that which is important to them.

Unable to fully drive the point home using the Chanukah story, I asked the kids how it would feel if a man knocked on our door, told us that we were no longer allowed to watch hockey, instead being forced to get behind golf or basketball(heaven forbid!). If we didn’t, then we’d go to jail.

I realize that my analogy is a little simplistic, BUT they were able to relate to it, and I think that the meaning was a little more real for them. So much so, that they wanted to share the holiday with their classmates. I made enough sufganiot for each of their classes, and Tevye will be wearing his kippah at school today(he’s a little uncertain about how kids will react, but he’s going to give it a go).

So however you interpret the Chanukah story, I hope that you have a wonderful, meaningful holiday, full of good food, family, and fun.

8 Responses to “Sucks to Christmas, We’ve got Doughnuts!”
  1. Donna says:

    Don’t forget Raffi’s Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel! Been listening to that for 35 years!

  2. animalizard says:

    How have I only just discovered your blog! What cute kids! chag Chanukah sameach 🙂

  3. stein9398 says:

    Love it!! I shared it on fbook. Bless You…

  4. Love it…I think that how you explained it to the kids was perfect

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