Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chanukah, The Almost Yom Tov (Menorah Upside Down On Purpose)


Well, next week, we will be very close to “the festival of lights”. Working as a frum Jew in a mostly Non Jewish atmosphere, I’m always amazed at how Chanukah, which really is a series of great miracles done for us, gets for lack of a better term “Christmasized”. What’s even weirder is how I’ve let myself get sucked into the mentality, and maybe sadly, I enjoy it a little. Here is what I mean. First, I have to (and want to, with a great staff) give presents. Now, I know how many Christians hate that the Heysuess (pronounced Jesus) has been taken out of the holiday. I don’t want to come across as a “politically correct” nerd, so I give them actual Christmas cards with a little $ (none of your business how much) and a lottery ticket. They are extremely appreciative, and want to reciprocate, and they do. Have I jumped on board the exchanging gifts at the holiday season bandwagon? The answer is yes. The other part of me that is always irked is how my co-workers will compare the two. Let me tell you, there ain’t no such thing as Hannukah Harry, but I laugh when they ask all the same. And the I feel guilty for minimizing our great miracles to silliness. That’s the “irked” part. Also (guiltily) I enjoy seeing them being able to “relate” to me just a bit. I think that Chanukah does get the short end of the stick by us, the religious. This lets other religions pull at it and make it something it’s not, and this is why. On every other Yom Tov, we are actively involved in it and it is outside of the workplace. On Purim, you wouldn’t give Shelach Manot to a non Jew, and you are busy. The other Yom Tovim keep you busy in shul, or away from work. You usually don’t bring your lulav and esrog to shul on Chol Hamoed, so the holiday is more of a private thing. Not so with Chanukah. Every store from Path Mark, to CVS has the obligatory Chanukah stuff. At least one (usually non religious) co-worker will bring in sufganiot or left over oily latkes. A staff that eats together can share the “holiday spirit” together. There is always the obligatory electric menorah at the holiday party that you feel obligated to be at, especially since the boss ordered kosher food just for you. Yes, I get a little sucked in, and it’s not a good thing. I just have one non breakable rule. No mistletoe in the classroom.

2 comments:

DavenedByDeKoisel said...

Oy,s'iz shver tzu zayn in Golus....

tesyaa said...

The people I work with could not care less that I am Jewish and religious, except for the big boss's executive assistant, who made sure to get me a kosher meal at our "holiday" party (and it was actually kosher). I appreciated that, so it works both ways. I was thinking about regifting a candy dish that someone once gave me and using it for the gift exchange, but I didn't have time to wrap it so I begged off -- good thing since most of the surprise gifts were wine...