Christmas Is the same day every year while Hanukkah moves around like a ‘lazy Susan’ as it whirls on the table at a Chinese restaurant. We stab at the sweet and sour pork dumpling as we ponder the changing dates. (Yes, I said pork) In a nod to the holiday, we spin it ‘right to left’.
We Jews love Dec. 25th. It’s a paid holiday. We go to movies and out for Chinese food, and Israeli dancing. I was kidding about the dancing. Hanukkah 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 Hanukkah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don’t look like idiots. I think they move the date around to keep us on our toes. We all have the same calendar, provided from the World Jewish Congress, a kosher butcher, or a friendly ‘Save the Whales’ group.
There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanuka, Chanukkah, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannuka, Hannukah. For years I thought we were celebrating Halvah, which is a sesame seed treat. Also we tend to emphasize the word on its first syllable which causes some spittle. Not nice in polite conversation.
However you spell it, it must have that (CCHHH) sound. How do Jews get that sound? I believe it’s because we’ve been storing ‘dairy’ in our throat for 6,000 years.
And let’s not forget the official song of Channukah as sung by the savior of our faith, Adam Sandler.
A home preparing for Christmas exudes wonderful aromas with the sweet smell of cookies and cakes in the oven. Happy people are gathered around in festive moods. A home preparing for Hanukkah smells of oil, potatoes and onions. Our eyes burn from peeling onions, we cut our hands grating potatoes and hot oil should be a salon hair treatment in yet another reminder of our suffering through the ages.
And of course, a kitchen filled with “Latke experts” with everyone talking at once.
When I was a child my friends had Christmas trees filled with presents. At our house we got practical presents such as corrective underwear, socks, or the collected works of Shlomo Schpitzik. (Sorry for the spittle)
How many presents can you fit under a dreidel?