Chanukah, A Meaning Lost
interpretation of our beloved Holyday has changed.
As children we learned the meaning of the eight days of celebration.
We learned that our Jewish lives were saved because an oil lamp lasted
eight days to save the Jewish people from darkness, from disaster. We celebrate the miracle that kept our ancestors from being
annihilated, as they were spared because of the light that kept them from
certain destruction and death!
have forgotten why we celebrate Chanukah now.
Children and their adult families have imitated the Christians by buying
gifts for their children and others to make them happy.
They also have copied the anger of the people when they feel
disadvantaged and not having gotten gifts that they expected.
It has become a meaningless holiday with material objects or lack of same
being the most important part of the celebration of the eight days of Chanukah.
Playing dreidel is ignored, who has the best or most expensive gift, who
has been ignored or forgotten; he who gets the best presents must be very
important, more loved; who gives the least gifts is ignored, including the poor
family member who has little money or joy from buying and or contributing
useless items which will or will not be appropriate for the religious occasion
that it was meant to be. Anger and
hatred are a part of the festivity, which has little to do with the meaning of
the holy day that is Chanukah. People
are labeled by their generosity, regardless of their ability to pay for a wanted
present. Religion is forgotten, especially the meaning of the
particular Yom Tov. The dreidel and
its symbols are pushed aside and its meaning of pure “luck” is ignored, if
played at all. The cost of gifts
given is correlated to the love that the giver has or does not have for the
designated receiver. Those are
allegedly loved the most who have enough money to give the costliest gift to the
recipient. He who gives no gift or
a “cheap” gift is denigrated and labeled as selfish, stingy, or uncaring.
The donator is labeled with ugly names and an uncaring personality.
No one thinks about the poor person’s inability to meet the
expectations of the taker. No
thought is give the “nebbich” who has little to hand to the taker.
has happened to us, the Jewish people? Have
we become goyim who run to the department stores to buy meaningless merchandise
to enrich mostly the store owners who want to sell their wares as quickly and
expensively as possible? We have forgotten who we are, what the festival of Chanukah
means, what we are celebrating, and for what meaning.
We forgot the celebration and how we were spared from the cruel enemies
who have tried to destroy us; how “hashem” spared us; how the lights have
allowed us to see and protect us from our enemies.
Have we forgotten “Rachmones” for the needy, the poor, and our fellow
religionists, and our responsibility to remember our “Brothers” and our
fellow men who love us for us and our righteousness rather than the merchandise
of stores? Let us remember our
history, our religion, our need to help the poor, the forgotten, our fellow Jews
as well as our poor, our needy and how we can help one another daily.
Chanukah is a symbolic time of year; let us remember the history and the
meaning of that “yom tov,” that