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GrandmaALiCE December 17th, 2016 6:41am

Return of Jew's Clues (Chanukah edition): True or false? Chanukah is a relatively minor holiday in the Jewish calendar.

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12/17/16 8:01 am

As several people have noted ... Yes, Chanukah is a real Jewish holiday, with historical roots. However, it's not ranked as a "major" holiday, in religious significance.

The major Jewish holidays are the biblical festival days. These are Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashonah, Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot.

On those days, we go to synagogue to pray. We are also instructed by God, to not work. For an Orthodox Jew, there are a total of 12 such days, spread among those 5 festivals. @Nkarta (Please correct me, if any of that is not right.)

Chanukah has become more "important," in modern times, mostly because of its calendar proximity to Christmas.


12/17/16 4:30 pm

I think it's a big deal, Alice. It's not biblical, and it's not one of the 3 travelling holidays- but it's still hugely significant

NKarta Please excuse my sanity
12/17/16 7:12 pm

Ive never done the math, but 12 sounds about right. However, hannukah is a major religious holiday. There are special prayers, certain laws regarding the days of hannukah, laws about lighting, and other customs. There is a prohibition on work within 1/2 hour after lighting the menorah. I wouldn't use the term "minor" to describe it. It just has fewer prohibitions than other holidays.

12/17/16 10:07 pm

Bradxyz and Nkarta, I see your point. Perhaps, "minor" was a poor choice of words.

However, my point is this. It has always annoyed me, when people treat Chanukah as sort of a "Jewish Christmas."

It's a big peeve of mine. Chanukah, of course, is our holiday and has absolute no connection to Christmas, except for the calendar proximity. But there's this cultural thing lately about comparing the two holidays. Would you agree with that?


12/17/16 10:08 pm

About the number of days ... I added wrong. It's 13 days. Here's my math.

Rosh Hashanah (2 days), Yom Kippur (1 day), Sukkot (4 days of "no work" restrictions), Pesach (4 days of "no work" restrictions) and Shavuot (2 days). The total is 13.


NKarta Please excuse my sanity
12/17/16 10:09 pm

Sure. The problem is that hannukah is being secularized and commercialized because it is seen as "the Jewish Christmas"

NKarta Please excuse my sanity
12/17/16 10:14 pm

Makes sense. The thing is that on sukkot and pesach, there are 2 days of no work as defined by jewish law, then 4 days of no work as in a job, but driving and using electricity etc., which is work acc to jewish law, are permitted. Then another 2 days of no work as defined by jewish law. Thats 8 more days of no work/ school that may or may not be counted in your tally.

cowboy Dawns Highway
12/17/16 7:56 am

Hanukkah is a big deal. All the Jews go out for Chinese food. 😂

12/17/16 8:02 am

Now, that is a fact! 😊

12/17/16 11:47 am

I read your comment carelessly. Christmas is the day when we go out for Chinese food. Not on Chanukah.

chickencookie Biden crime syndicate
12/17/16 12:34 pm

This year they fall on the same day though.

chickencookie Biden crime syndicate
12/17/16 2:32 pm

They play that every year on SNL. Might be on tonight.

RussianThunder Russia and USA
12/17/16 7:28 am

It's much more celebrated in the US than in Russia.

12/17/16 7:44 am

That's interesting! Why do you think that is?

RussianThunder Russia and USA
12/17/16 9:17 am

The things I have seen in stores the few times I have been out. Regular stores. Wrapping paper, party decorations, menorahs, gift bags, recipe cards etc. The synagogue is having a big party.
In Russia my school had a play we put on and cookies were brought in but that was about it. Each family lit a Menorah at home. As my father became more successful, the presents became better each night but even so, they saved things to give at Purim. It seemed less commercial there than here and I think it had to do with the season. Xmas in Russia is the first part of January. In the US, the two holidays often overlap.

12/17/16 9:19 am

Thanks! I can see why the fact that Christmas is later in Russia would make a difference.

How are you feeling?

chickencookie Biden crime syndicate
12/17/16 12:38 pm

They also have Mensch on a Bench. He came out about two years ago.

FLAmerican Pensacola
12/17/16 7:15 am

True, it's not a major feast required by God, but it does hold historical and religious value to Jews all across the world. It can be traced by Judah Maccabaeus's resistance to the Greek Army and the miracle of the oil. It also has more meaning as well depending on your religious views.

12/17/16 8:03 am

All of that is true. Please see my comment above, for more info.

rons Thanks America
12/17/16 5:47 am

True! But here in the US it's a fun Holiday we celebrate along with the Christmas Holiday. As a kid in Brooklyn NY my grade school was 50/50 Jewish and Catholic. Dreidel spinning was commonplace. Today the adults just ruin it for the children to have some fun.

12/17/16 5:02 am

Poll question for iPad users:

"Return of Jew's Clues (Chanukah edition): True or false? Chanukah is a relatively minor holiday in the Jewish calendar."


DoctorWasdarb Decolonize
12/17/16 4:12 am

True. It was made big so Jews weren't ignored around Christmas time.

rons Thanks America
12/17/16 5:48 am

See above. But not so big in Idaho and Vermont.

FIAT2LUX On Planet Earth
12/17/16 6:56 am

I disagree. There is written record of the holiday being celebrated during the first century CE and the 4 books of Maccabees from before that describing the events leading to the holiday.

DoctorWasdarb Decolonize
12/17/16 7:19 am

That doesn't mean it was a big holiday, just that it was celebrated. I'm saying it became a big deal for Jews because of Christmas.

12/17/16 8:06 am

Fiat, you are right. I'm just pointing out that Chanukah is not the "Jewish Christmas," as many seem to think (not you, but many others). It's a lot less important than many other holidays.

I posted a comment above, with more details.