Category Archives: Maccabees

Hanukkah: A Festivus For Any Of Us? (I)

Attribution: DRosenbach at en.wikipedia

Attribution: DRosenbach at en.wikipedia

Seinfeld, the popular 1990s sitcom, brought Festivus to the public consciousness. Festivus is a recently-invented holiday billed as a way to celebrate the season of giving without commercialism. 

I know what you’re thinking. A Blue Thread is going to tell us that the story of Hanukkah was made up and then suggest that the holiday (not being in the Tanakh) is no more authentic than Festivus. We’re actually going to do nothing of the sort. Well, not much of the sort.

Today, we’ll just touch upon why, at least according to the Books of the Maccabees, Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration. The Books of the Maccabees, which neither Karaites nor Rabbanites deem to be holy, contain no reference to a miracle of oil lasting for eight days.

Why, then, is Hanukkah eight crazy nights?

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Filed under Festivus, Hanukkah, Maccabees, R. HIllel, R. Shammai

Rejection, Rebellion and Revolt

"What is believed to be the Maccabees' relics - kept in the Maccabees Shrine - is venerated in St. Andrew Church, Cologne, Germany."Image Source and Description:

“What is believed to be the Maccabees’ relics – kept in the Maccabees Shrine – is venerated in St. Andrew Church, Cologne, Germany.”
Image Source and Description:

I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that David Suissa, President of the Jewish Journal, was paying a compliment to Karaite Jews when he recently referred to us as “rebellious” due to our rejection of the Talmud.

I’ve met Mr. Suissa on a few occasions (though he probably would not remember me) and several years back I actually heard him speak at a Shabbat dinner in a private home in Los Angeles. In every instance, he has shown himself to be a sincere individual and a dedicated Jew. I was, thus, particularly flattered when Mr. Suissa likened Karaites to rebels – especially around this time of year when most Jews throughout the world will soon begin the celebration of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah commemorates one of the most successful rebellions in the history of our people. The Maccabees, as they are commonly referred to, were the heroes and leaders of a rebellion against the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. Because of the Maccabean Revolt, the Jewish people reclaimed The Temple and rededicated it to the God of Israel. The word Hanukkah is Hebrew for “dedication.”

But the connection between Karaites and the Maccabees is much deeper than my not-so-artful twist on the word “rebellious.”

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Filed under David Suissa, Hanukkah, Jewish Journal, Karaite Press, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Maccabees, Pharisees, Sadducees, Shabbat Candles, The Temple