13 Differences Between Christmas and Chanukah

Thought this was amusing, no matter what your religion, and decided to share. Enjoy!

1. Christmas is one day, same day every year, December 25. Jews also love December=2 025th. It’s another paid day off work. We go to the movies and out for Chinese food and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure.  Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts forcing us to consult a calendar so we don’t look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida) or other Jewish funeral homes.

2. Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.

3. Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos, etc. Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks or the collected works of the Rambam, which looks impressive on the bookshelf.

4. There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanukkah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, etc.

5. Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends. Their partners expect special gifts. Jewish men are relieved of that burden. No one expects a diamond ring on Chanukah.

6. Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for Chanukah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis.

7. Christmas carols are beautiful…Silent Night, Come All Ye Faithful. Chanukah songs are about dreidels made from clay or having a party and da ncing the hora. Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the beautiful carols were composed and written by our tribal brethren. And don’t Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond sing them beautifully?

8. A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful like the sweet smell of cookies and cakes baking. Happy people are gathered around in festive moods. A home preparing for Chanukah smells of oil, potatoes and onions. The home, as always, is full of loud people all talking at once.

9. Christian women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Jewish women burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkes on Chanukah. Another reminder of our suffering through the ages.

10. Parents deliver presents to their children during Christmas. Jewish parents have no qualms about withholding a gift on any of the eight nights.

11. The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as Mary, Joseph and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus , Judah Maccabee and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it. On the plus side, we can tell our friends anything and they believe we are wonderfully versed in our history.

12. Many Christians believe in the virgin birth.  Jews think, “Yossela, Bubela, snap out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn’t sleep with her, and now you want to blame G-d? Here’s the number of my shrink”.

13. In recent years, Christmas has become more and more commercialized. The same holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a minor holiday. It makes sense. How could we market a major holida y such as Yom Kippur? Forget about celebrating. Think observing. Come to synagogue, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed good time for you and your family. Tickets a mere $200 per person. Better stick with Chanukah!

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Ike Broflovski is Taken to Saddam Hussein’s Canada in South Park Episode 715, “Christmas in Canada”

When Ike Broflovski’s birth-parents interrupt quiet, family Hanukah prayers and insist on taking Ike back to Canada by decree of the new Canadian Prime Minister, Sheila and Gerald Broflovski are devastated. Cartman tells Kyle that this is what he gets for being Jewish at Christmas time: some Jesus revenge. In a show of unprecedented good faith, the South Park townsfolk offer to forgo Christmas gift-giving and donate all of their money to the Broflovskis for legal fees to take their case to Canada.

Rather than lose Christmas, the boys decide to help Kyle go to Canada and confront the Canadian Prime Minister about taking Ike. The whole time they want to hurry back to South Park, though, so that they are sure not to miss out on any Christmas adventures. Funny, since they are traversing Canada by foot after their plane crashed and confronting all sorts of weird and wacky characters Wizard of Oz style (with Scott, the dickhead Canadian as the Wicked Witch).

As their plane is crashing (it’s piloted by the same guy who owns City Wok and is called City [Shitty] Airlines), the pilot tells them: “As you can see it appears that we are going down. Now would be a good time to reflect on your life and pray to whatever deity you believe in.”

At the end of the episode, Kyle speaks about the importance of family and who we love and explains to the Canadian Prime Minister – who turns out to be the escaped Saddam Hussein! – that, “Family isn’t about whose blood you have in you. Family’s about the people who cared about you and took care of you. We’re not the same blood, but I love my little brother. We’ve taken care of him because he needed us to, and that makes us more family than anything.”

Very touching and a lovely Christmas episode.

What do you think? What was your favorite part?

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South Park Sings, Dances, Offends and Celebrates in Episode 315, “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics”

This is a ridiculously silly episode and not a conventional one by any means. When I first started watching it, I expected to be bored, and I was pretty annoyed that Trey Parker and Matt Stone thought that they could get away with giving me some bs songs instead of a real Christmas episode. As it turns out, these had to be a lot harder to compose and produce than a regular episode and they were really funny, at that.

The episode is set up like a pitch for a Christmas album by Mr. Hankey, and he share his ten favorite Christmas songs with us, each of varying length but all sung by South Park characters in hilarious and new ways.

Cartman’s rendition of Silent Night that celebrates Jesus’ birth and lets him get presents is quite good. My personal favorites are the Hanukah song that opens everything up (a new take on the Dreidel song) and Mr. Garrison’s around the world explanation of how most people fail to celebrate Christmas adequately. He visits all kinds of eastern religions and countries and pretty much behaves like a bigoted, American asshole. Shocking!

A very amusing episode overall.

What did you think? Which was your favorite song?

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Fun with the Bible: Happy Hanukah Book of Daniel – When Were You Written?

Today’s Agenda

I know that last week we talked about the plagues from the Exodus story (yes, the story, not the book, since we looked at Psalms), and that I promised to continue with that theme over the next few weeks. However, it’s Hanukah, and as such, I thought a brief digression into the materials of the Bible related to the holiday would be a nice way to change things up and enjoy something topical.

With that plan in mind I could turn to I or II Maccabees, but many of you may not have those books in your Bibles. Why? Because those books are what we call – depending on our religious predispositions – deuterocanonical, apocryphal or noncanonical. These words mean either that the books are additional but not wholly incorporated or official books of the Bible: considered holy but not in the canon. Because Jews themselves consider the books noncanonical (not part of the Bible), and yet the story of Hanukah is contained within their pages, we’re going to turn to a book that everybody thinks is part of the Bible, but for reasons other than what it is: Daniel!

What Daniel Purports to Be

First question: Did Daniel, whoever that is, write the book of Daniel? The answer: no, plain and simple. The person who the book of Daniel is about and who tells us this story is not the person in the story. How do we know this? Because the story takes place in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court in the middle of the sixth century BCE after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judea, and the book tells us of things that happen up to a precise moment in time hundreds of years later. Curious, no?

Of course, many people will contend – as they do every day – that the book of Daniel is a prophetic book envisioning the future of the Jews up until that specific time: which happens to be during the reign of the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV, who ruled over Judea in 167 BCE and desacrated Jewish law and the Temple (the Hanukah story). But if this is a prophetic book by a prophet then why is it that the author gets the ending and what happens in the year 164 BCE totally wrong? Because obviously he stopped writing the book before the events of that year took place and didn’t know them, meaning that our book was written sometime between his last right event (167) and his historically erroneous conclusions (164).

What the ‘Prophecy’ Really Tells Us

Interesting, too, is how the detail of the prophetic vision enhances and is consistently more accurate throughout the ‘prophecy’ as the time gets closer to the writer’s own time. The vision recounts the various kings and conquerors who came into Judea from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, who is being made aware of the vision, to the time of the Maccabean revolt (i.e. the Hanukah story), and the more contemporary we get, the more accurate and descriptive.

Of course, Daniel’s audience is not the Maccabees or their followers. He is trying to comfort those people who remain faithful to the Jewish law at such a terrible time (the primary subject of the earlier written part of the book in another language!) and comfort them in their decision to continue praying to God for help rather than fight. Thus, more than a book that can tell us about the time of Nebuchadnezzar or a book that prophecies the future, Daniel is essentially a book that sheds light on an attitude of a particular group of people that suffered during the time of the Hanukah story.

There’s much more that can be said about this fascinating book, but I’ll leave it there for now. Oh yeah, and Happy Hanukah!

Summary

What do you think of the book of Daniel and what I’ve written here.

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