Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Problem with Hanukkah

Hanukkah can't catch a break.  It is the undersized sibling, dwarfed each year by the monster that devoured everything in its path. Christmas is the brightest star in the constellation and trying to compete with it is like sending me to play a game of one on one with Kevin Durant.

So, Hanukkah must have considered it a stroke of genius this year when it decided to give Christmas not only its own space, but basically its own month. Sure it would stumble into December on the back end, but for all intents and purposes it would move to November to allow the big guy undisputed top billing.

And who would think that it would then run head first into another obstacle. Thanksgiving, thanks for nothing. You have clearly taken all the air out of the Hanukkah balloon. Where is the Macy's day parade latke? The feathers on the turkey actually look like a menorah in the right light, and the real thing remains stuck in the corner, waiting for sundown to come out of the shadows.

Hanukkah has to think deeply where it belongs, has to find the right time of year when it is not crowded out, pushed aside, left asunder. It has to study the calendar to make sure we are not otherwise involved when it arrives for its annual  celebration. Don't bump into Uncle Sam in July, can't collide with Lincoln and Washington in February.

Hanukkah takes over a week to percolate before it comes to full boil. Yet even there it is overwhelmed by the whole twelve night thing with Christmas.

Maybe America is just the wrong venue. Maybe Hanukkah can never be more than a character actor here. Maybe it will always be a footnote. Maybe it should reconsider this whole US thing.

Maybe it will decide to declare its free agency, to see if Scott Boras is interested in taking it on as a client.  To see if it can find itself a top shelf deal where its luminosity will radiate without interference, where its eight days of light will shine on a welcoming universe.

So today, when Hanukkah is finished eating the sweet potatoes, the stuffing, the turkey and the apple pie, when it has watched all the football games and the parades, when it is finally time to do its thing, don't be surprised if it announces to the assembled that this may well be its farewell song.

And if that happens, when we put on our coats and say our goodbyes to family and friends, we will shed a tear for the possibility that Hanukkah will soon no longer be ours to ignore. And then we will turn for solace to the next entry in the pantheon of days we hold most dear: Black Friday. For us, there is always another tradition to fill the void.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sweet potatoes on Chanukah? sacrilege !!! Today was latzkas, not sweet potatoes.
Hope yours was wonderful, and that you enjoyed it with your wonderful family.