Most of us know the Christmas story, whether we’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim or one of them bloody heathen. But not many of us know the Hanukkah story. In an episode of Friends it was portrayed as the kind of thing only Ross would find interesting as he attempted to teach it to his son while wearing an armadillo costume. Jon Stewart described it as a celebration based on “oil lasting longer than it normally would.” But honestly, if you hear it you will realize that this story is awesome. And don’t worry, I’ll keep it short.
So Israel was no stranger to being overtaken by an empire. The latest one came thanks to Alexander the Great. You may have heard of him. The Greeks wanted everyone to be Greek, and in the process they changed the Hebrew Temple into a temple for Zeus. There they would kill and cook pigs, and not for bacon (which really doesn’t make any sense). And a little over 160 years before Jesus was born one man had had enough.
We’ll call him Matt. He was a priest who refused to change his religion and ethnic identity. So when a Greek official tried to make him kill a pig for Hercules’ daddy-god, he not only said no. He killed the man and ran to the hills. A bunch of Jews who shared his enthusiasm joined him up there and decided to try and do the impossible. They’d fight the Greeks and try to take back the Temple, Jerusalem, and all of Judea.
But the real hero was his son, Judah Maccabee. And he was…
Ok, wait. Pause. We need to establish something here. It is my firm opinion that “badass” is a great word and should not be seen as foul language. Replacing the “ss” with dollar signs is ridiculous. And don’t even get me started on the asinine substitutional use of “badbutt.” I think we can all handle this word.
So Judah Maccabee was a badass. He was Israel’s most brilliant military leader since Joshua. And “Maccabee” wasn’t his last name. It was his nickname. “The Hammer.” In battle he was like William Wallace and Maximus Meridius rolled into one. The Greeks had taken over most of the known world, so one country couldn’t possibly stand up against them, let alone a small faction within that country.
But they did.
They took back the Temple, and when they did they’d found that it had been defiled by the Greeks. All of the olive oil that was used to light the menorahs was either gone or defiled except for one container that still had the priestly seal. It was only enough to last for one day, but they believed they should light the menorah anyway. They did, and miraculously the oil lasted for eight days. Long enough for more oil to be prepared.
Sweet victory. They did it! They won! And eight days every year Jews remember this time and celebrate.
And speaking of festival of lights. A LOT of lights…
Congratulations Christmas Vacation. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Beverly D’Angelo as Ellen Griswold in Christmas Vacation.
Best Actor: Peter Billingsley as Ralphie in A Christmas Story.
Best Quote: “Sh*tter’s full!” (Again, does the asterisk do any good here??)
Feels like time for some more great quotes. All three of these movies are chock full of them. Enjoy:
“Only one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.”
“This place reminds me of Santa’s Workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me.”
“Oh, Eddie… If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.”
“I’m sorry I ruined your lives, and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR.”
“Deck the harrs with boughs of horry, fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra.”
“I don’t know if I oughta go sailin’ down no hill with nothin’ between the ground and my brains but a piece of government plastic.”
“I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!” (“No, you’ll shoot your eye out.”)
“You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don’t smell like Santa.”
“If you scratch his belly, Clark, he will love you till the day you die.”
“There has never been a kid who didn’t believe vaguely but incessantly that he would be stricken blind before he reached 21, and then they’d be sorry.”
Movie of the Week