Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christians who celebraye Hanukah and not Christmas

Dear Rabbi,

I just watched your video on "Jews and the Christmas Dilemma." I really can appreciate the sensitive nature of an interfaith family and the whole Christmas holiday. For my wife and I (who are gentile) we were able to remove Christmas and Easter from our lives. In fact, when we both read Jeremiah 10:2-4 we were shocked to find that G-d mocks the very practice of placing a piece of wood or tree in the home and decorating it. With that said, it breaks our heart when we hear of Jewish people adopting Christmas either in part or in whole as a so-called "American tradition." It is clearly a pagan tradition that has been sanitized so to speak. In fact, the whole concept of Christmas really being a secular holiday is sickening. Or when Christians say it is no longer pagan, but now has a meaning that honors G-d and his son. When I hear of Christmas being trivialized in this manner, I am reminded of the Israelites forming the golden calf and then calling it a 'feast to Adonai.' Whether we are Jew or Christian or unaffiliated gentile, to call Christmas anything other than a pagan holiday is a self deception.

With that said, my wife and I are very sensitive to those who celebrate Christmas and try to keep in mind, that our ways are not necessarily their ways. So, we live by example alone and when asked about our reason, we give them. We have found that our secular friends are very understanding to our beliefs. It is our religious friends who we seem to lock horns with. Even when we try to avoid the subject, there is always this underlying tension. It is as if it is our religious and American duty to keep Christmas.

We keep Hannukah. Not as a replacement for Christmas. That is a whole different subject that irritates me and I won't get into it here. My wife and I feel that gentiles need to embrace Hannukah. It is an excellent account of the Jewish people and their plight with gentile/pagan culture. It's a great example of being in the world, but not being of the world. So much so, that many people gave their lives to defend the Torah. To my confused Christian friends, I liken Hannukah to our American 4th of July (no offense). But, it is a lesson in religious and political freedom that all Americans need to understand and embrace. In fact, I believe, that if Judah did not lead his small band of Jewish warriors into Jerusalem to defend the Torah and the temple..... then Jesus would never have been. And so, Christianity and America may never have been. It's kind of ironic.

Anyway, shalom Rabbi. Have a great shabbat

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