I don't think this needs an introduction (giggle). So I'll just tell you (chuckle) that this was written (snort) by Jim who can also be found at Just A Lil Blog (guffaw). Oh, by the way, do you know how he got on Twitter? It's because I said "You're funny. Are you on Twitter?" (BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
The Hanukkah Dialogues
Alright, so I was apparently born without the “faith” gene that gives so many people so much comfort and also so much guilt, but what I lack in faith I make up for in curiosity. I was curious about what I’d heard about Hanukkah, and, moreover, skeptical. I turned to the greatest scholar of Judaism I know, Jillsmo, for answers. What follows is an “enhanced” dialog of our twitter discussion of Chanukah, where the enhancement is simply what happened to be going through my mind as the discussion progressed. At the end, or maybe even interspersed within the dialog I’ll do my best to add some tidbits about Chanukkah that I gleaned not only to satisfy my own curiosity, but also to avoid being overly offensive (since Jillsmo is my twitter sponsor and also FF’ed me once. . . hard, square in my tweet deck).
So, without further ado. . . “The Chanuka Dialogues”:
Jim W: Is it offensive to wonder whether the guy checking the lamp oil just didn't know how much lamp oil it actually takes for 8 days?
Okay first thing out of the gate. I was trying to be funny. I knew Jillsmo wasn’t a huge fan of the holidays having read it in her blog. But people are funny about religion, and while I’m not particularly religiousy (i.e., not at ALL), just because someone seems not religiousy doesn’t mean you can shit all over their religion with reckless abandon and not pay some sort of penalty. And I like Jillsmo.
Jill: that's not offensive, I mean, there was a lot of stress and chaos going on at the time
Sort of a lukewarm response, but I took it as an opening.
Jim: dude. . . wait wait. . . I didn't carry the one. We're cool for 8 days!
Jill: wait... HOW many ounces are there in a cup? OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Feeling a lot more comfortable that I’m not burning the bridge of blog friendship at this point by continuing.
Jill: It's a miracle!!!
Okay, at the risk of being offensive. This is like the lamest miracle ever. Even if I make my peace with it actually being a miracle, I’m reminded of an episode of a television show by the second greatest Judaicical (is that a word? That’s a word. Right?) I know of, Jerry Seinfeld. Kramer is taking a car Jerry wants to buy for a test drive. He misses the turn on the way back and decides to just keep driving and see how far it will go. It goes impossibly far until, at last the dealership is in sight, and they go for it. The car rolls to a stop, out of gas, and Kramer says he’ll think about it. IT ONLY HAD ENOUGH OIL FOR ONE NIGHT!!! MIRACLE!!
Jim W: ixnay on the iracle may!! I fucked up the math!
Jim W: So embarassing. Who the hell bought all this lamp oil anyway? I said ONE DAY'S WORTH!
Jill: do you have any idea how much lamp oil costs?? OY!
Alright, so what is up with the fucking lamp oil already? Why do we need it? Why are we lighting lamps in the first place? Well, it turns out this douchebag Antiochus IV invaded Jerusalem, looted the Second Temple (which is apparently at least the second best Jewish temple in all the land) and put a bunch of Jews to the sword.
I guess that was more or less okay with the Jews except then THIS happened, (from the third greatest source on Jewstory that I know of, Wikipedia): Judaism was outlawed. Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. He banned circumcision and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the temple. Antiochus's actions provoked a large-scale revolt.
You outlawed my religion? You. . . you desecrated the second best temple I fucking own? You. . . you banned my ritual mutilation of man penis?? And you. . . oh no you di-in’t. . . you fucking burned the goddamn BACON!!! PREPARE TO DIE, OF COURSE!!
So the Jews took back the Second Temple by force. This taking back led to a celebration. Because, you know, bacon is back! They wanted to light the temple, but all the fucking sacred oil had been desecrated by a bunch of Zeus worshipping douchebags! All except one pot, sealed by the high priest (who may or may not have been shitfaced when he calculated how much oil to put in the “one day’s worth pot” per my discussion with Jillsmo).
Back to our dialogue:
Jim W: abba is going to KILL me if he finds out I bought enough for 8 days. Tell him I just bought enough for 1!
These sorts of “Jews are cheap” jokes are beneath me, but I felt like Jillsmo went there first, and I didn’t want her to feel guilty about it.
Jill: but it was on sale! Eight for the price of one. How could I refuse??? Such a deal.
So they dedicated the Second Temple, but they have this one pot of oil. And here’s where the miracle part comes in. . . it’s going to take them eight days to get more oil. But they only have enough for one day. So this is totally inconvenient to the rededication ceremony. You know, lamp’s gotta stay lit, people. You can’t cook bacon without light! So at this point I imagine a Project Manager entering the picture and saying, THAT’S “UNACCEPTABLE!” (because I am one, I hear this term ALL the fucking time, to the point where I’m like Inigo Montoya saying to Vezzini, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”) “You make this last until we get more!” And they did. And so, you know, miracle.
And with miracles come celebrations! And so this is pretty funny, but you know one of the awesome customs associated with “the Festival of Lights” (they call it that because they know they can’t spell Hannukah the same way twice otherwise)?? Eating foods fried in oil to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the flame in the Temple alight for eight days.
Are you fucking with me?? Bacon and fried foods?? I LOVE Jews! So, this is where the holy hashbrowns (also known as latkes in Yiddish) come from.
At this point Patrick Smith joined the fray, apparently hoping we would start roping some of the other religions and their sucky miracles into the discussion.
Patrick: Are you two blaspheming again? Let me know when you start ridiculing hinduism. #theyknowwhy
Jill: "They know why" LOL. I think I'm giddy with lack of sleep, I'm laughing my ass off at everything today
I attempted to shift the focus of our heightened religiousy awareness to something I knew more about, namely, Christianity, and specifically the miracle of the Christmas birth of Jesus to a virgin, which, and don’t excoriate me, has long made me think of THIS dialogue that possibly escaped Biblical scholars:
Joseph: You’re pregnant? What do you mean you’re pregnant?? I thought you said you were on the pill!
Mary: I am on the pill! It’s not 100% okay?? What about you? You were supposed to pull out!
Joseph: That’s Onanism and forbidden by religious law!
Mary: Right, and having sex before we’re married is totally kosher. God, you’re an asshole.
Joseph: What the hell are we going to do? Your dad is going to KILL us!
Mary: Okay, shut up and listen. We’re going back home and I’m telling dad that God did it?
Joseph: God did it?
Mary: Yeah, God did it. He impregnated me, and my child is going to be King of the World or something. He’s super religious and totally into this “descended from David” stuff, he’ll buy it.
Joseph: Alright. . . I’m in.
But anyway, I said:
Jim W: Ugh we've been following that fucking star all night. Let's just crown the first baby we see. Hey, is that a manger?
But apparently the power of the Christian God awed them both into silence because they totally ignored that awesome comment related to the magi and drifted off my twitter radar.
Some people then came in and told us they thought the whole conversation was pretty funny (presumably anti-semites, because everyone loves a good jew-bashing, I know because I read not only “The Merchant of Venice”, but also “Ivanhoe”, and also fast forwarded “Schindler’s List” to the nude scenes, and mostly based on this, it appears these folks have universally gotten shafted by people in power (i.e., Christians). But they also might not have been anti-semites, because I’m not an anti-semite, and I also thought it was pretty funny.) and that it should be blogged, but I didn’t feel comfortable blogging it because I’m not Jewish, but then Jillsmo said it was okay, so I felt like I had the blessing of all of Judaism behind me. And it’s not like you can just refuse that sort of calling.
At that point, I felt like I should look a little more into the holiday and develop some sort of understanding before I posted my enhanced version, and that’s where some of my tidbits came from.
So in closing. 1) Nobody can spell Chanukah right. AND HERE’S WHY! The actual spelling uses a symbol that doesn’t equate to anything in English, okay? So they approximate it with sounds. Those sounds are the Huh sound or the Chah sound, roughly, depending on how you do it. So they just try their best to spell it like it sounds consistently but because everyone is an asshole who has to do it MY way, and MY way is the only right way, there’s like 6 official spellings that are all fine. It’s the same with Qaddafi, yo. I learned this on the interwebz. Anyway, they just call it “The Festival of Lights”. 2) And this really surprised me. . . it’s not really THAT big a deal in the whole pantheon of Jewish holidays. It’s bigger in the States now because apparently their was some sort of religious dick-measuring contest and the Jews were pissed cause Christian kids get Santa and their kids got a fucking dreidel and some hashbrowns, and maybe some gold, so a lot of Jewish families give gifts too, which makes The Festival of Lights seem way cooler than the celebration of Kramer driving the Saab back to the dealership after an impossibly long test drive. But anyway, way bigger holidays out there for folks of the Jewish faith. 3) After this I’m probably burning in hell.
Happy Holidays Everyone!