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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Rosh Hashanah Gift Baskets 2021 - New York & Los Angeles

Rosh Hashanah Gift Baskets 2021 - A few years ago, the religious editor of a metropolitan newspaper called me to discuss an article she was writing about the upcoming holiday season. I was used to hearing certain things about Chanukah and he asked me if I could give him a "different" vision.
"And what are you used to hearing?" I asked.

"Well, you know," she said, "that Chanukah celebrates the struggle for national self-determination. Or that it is a time of gifts, like Christmas or Kwanzaa, only in a Jewish way.”

Let's make one thing clear:
rosh hashanah gift baskets

There is nothing wrong with gifts per se. Only these have no particular meaning in Chanukah. In fact, if a person does not give or does not receive even a single gift in Chanukah, they will not have missed anything central to the holiday.

Culturally overwhelmed holiday

Everyone I know, including my own children, will want to strangle me after reading this. Let's make things clear: Yes, I received gifts from Chanukah as a child. And yes, my wife and I give the children a few gifts of Chanukah.

Having said that…

The reason we deliver gifts in Chanukah is that Chanukah arrives just around the same time as Santa Claus. Our Jewish holiday has been culturally overwhelmed by society's obsession with Christmas gifts.

There is a great historical irony in the fact that the Chanukah party has been so dramatically impacted by a non-Jewish religion and culture. The Jewish people struggled to resist a foreign culture and have held that resistance for more than 2,000 years. And now we find ourselves adopting the customs of another culture to celebrate the victory of Chanukah!

I wonder, what would Yehuda el Macabeo say about this?

Chanukah's soul

Chanukah is about two forces that are always present: darkness and light. It is about the struggle between two ideologies that shape the world: Hellenism and Judaism. It is the imperceptible human spark that allows people to reach far beyond the limitations they believe they have. It is about the power of a small flame to make a huge amount of darkness disappear. It is a small town that beat one of the most intimidating rivals.

The gifts are wonderful - both give them how to receive them - but Chanukah is not a time of gifts, but a time to grow. It is the opportunity to discover new things, to acquire fresh perspectives on Jewish life and new inspiration to live.

After all, what greater gift could there be than that?
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