(As the week of Chanukah draws to a close and hot on the heels of her super successful explanation of the Jewish Holiday Rosh Hashana, Zees is back to explain the holiday Chanukah to Rob. So grab your dreidels and let’s get started…)
Put on your yarmulka, its time to celebrate Chanukah! What’s Chanukah, you ask? The great sage Adam Sandler tells us it’s “The Festival of Lights.” But what the eff does that mean, and why are there eight crazy nights of it? We’re smack in the middle of this awesome Jewish holiday, and I told you in my Rosh Hashana letter that I would be back to explain Chanukah to you, Rob, so here we are. Pull up a chair, Rob, and get naked comfy, because we are about to live out my ultimate teacher/student fantasy and once again, get you Hebrew Schooled!
Chanukah is a historical holiday with a lot of sub stories, political upheaval, battles, etc. But I know you just want to get to the fun part, so I’ll try and make this quick but awesome*. In the Second Century BC, the Syrian-Greeks were in control of the land of Judea, and decided that they didn’t want the Jewish people to practice their religion anymore. They issued many edicts that outlawed things like studying Jewish law and observing Jewish customs. Also, they outlawed circumcision. (Would that be something that would affect you? Moon and I, and uh, a few other people want to know). They brought foreign/unholy objects into the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and ruined every jug of oil that could be used to light the menorah in the holy Temple. Rendering it: DEFILED! UNCLEAN! The Maccabees, who were a small group of Jewish resistance fighters, took it upon themselves to fight the Greeks in the name of G-d. Militarily speaking, there was no way to win the war, but the small group of untrained fighters beat the immense Greek army. The first thing the Maccabees did after the war was over was go to the Temple to try and get things up and running again, namely, to light the menorah. They found one small jug of undefiled olive oil that only had enough l to last for one day, but miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which is how long it takes to make fresh pure oil. To commemorate that miracle, Jewish people all around the world light menorahs in our homes for eight nights, eat foods fried in oil (hell yeah! But more on that later) and generally be joyous. Because miracles are cool. In a miraculous sort of way.
Wow, that’s a lot to take in!* Did you zone out? Are you wondering how many panties poofed when the Remember Me Trailer hit the internet? Or about how I could make you a young dad? Well, too bad cause there’s MORE!
G-d, this is already so long, but there’s more!*
Let me try and explain the story in a way that might help you better understand. Let’s say you are in your hotel room, and the fort you have built is the finest a cardboard fort has ever been. Vancouver Fort has NOTHING on this one. Hot Pocket boxes, pizza boxes, Heineken cartons–your masterpiece is a sight to behold. Now suppose Kristen Stewart (because in all my daydreams about you, she shows up as the villain) walks in and says, “Rob, I declare myself queen of the fort and I am taking over! You are no longer allowed to read Sex-Driven People while thinking about the lovely bloggers and commenters of LTR. You can no longer wear plaid shirts, and Nikki Reed, Megan Fox and I are going to move in to your fort. I don’t even know Megan Fox, but she once said she would eat you alive and that’s sufficiently dirty and creepy, so I’m moving her in here with me and yout co-star/Greek crab keeper!” DEFILED! UNCLEAN! Rob, you know this is wrong and you need to fix it! So you gather up the BritPack, who, let’s be honest, have no chance in hell in an epic battle against those three “ladies”, and when the sparkledust settles, you emerge victorious and kick them out of your fort! Naturally, the first thing you are going to do is reinstate the good times in your cardboard castle of transfat and beer bellies. And you need to dress the part. But, OH NO! There is only one plaid shirt! Nature dictates that the shirt should only be worn for one day before it needs to be washed, but, THE MIRACLE OF ROB-UKAH occurs and it lasts for eight nights which is the exact amount of time it takes for you to steal something else off of Marcus Foster’s floor!
On second thought, that’s not really a miracle for you. More of a constant occurrence. But I think you get the point.
Follow the cut to read about some fun Chanukah activities, Rob-erized of course!
You have the all the background, Rob, so here are some fun Chanukah activities:
- Light the Menorah: Start with one candle the first night and add a candle each night. I found a menoRob that I though you would appreciate. And if my hand strays a bit while lighting, and some candle wax accidentally makes its way to your chest, you can make a joke about how next I’ll want to tie you up. And then I can pretend I don’t realize you’re kidding. Then we have sex. Good times.
Dreidel: By far the cutest Jewish tradition ever. (Seriously, have you ever eaten matzah? Blown a Shofar? Not cute.) The story goes that when the Greeks outlawed Torah study, the scholars would take their young students outside Jerusalem and secretly teach them. When the Greek soldiers would come to investigate and arrest the teachers, the children would take out their dreidels (spinning tops) and deny any studying…only playing. As soon as they left, the learning would continue. (Wow, we Jews sure know how to have throw a party!) To commemorate, we play dreidel with coins or candy. Depending on what side the dreidel lands, you either win all the coins in the pot, nothing, half or you have to put one in*. But Rob, you and I can play with clothes. Which would lead to us playing without clothes. Good times.
- Gifts: This tradition probably started as money to play dreidel, but has evolved into basically eight nights of Christmas presents. I really can’t complain. One guess as to what I want. (hint: it involves you and me, and the wall from Remember Me). Thrice a night, for eight nights.* Good times.
Fried Foods: Miracle Occurred With Oil = Fried Potato Pancakes (latkes) and Jelly Doughnuts. Hot and Delicious. Like you. Then we have sex, and then eat more latkes. Good times.
Now you know everything there is to know about Chanukah, Rob. If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them. In my bed.
*THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!
C’mon Baby, Light My Menorah!
P.S. Might I suggest a gift for Kristen? Being a Nonsten, I normally would not have considered a Chanukah gift for the-chick- you-might-be-banging-but-I-certainly-hope-you-aren’t-because-that-girl-ain’t-right-for-you, but I saw this and thought, “PERFECT!”
Amazing explanation as always Zees! Rob and I know we can always count on you to explain the Jewish holidays with Rob-isms! Are you following Zees? NO? Well, then follow her on Twitter and send her a little message to tell her how rad her letter was today! So what do you think? Ready to light the last candles on your Menorah? Ready for a last spin of the dreidel? I’m ready for the latkes. For serious…
Thank you a ton Zees!!